Taco pie

After seeing Donna’s version of Katie’s Crockpot Mexican Lasagna, I knew I needed to eat a piece of the (non)proverbial pie. But I didn’t get my act together in time to actually make Katie’s, and I didn’t have the ingredients to make Donna’s.

Sigh.

So I fell back to an old standby: Cheesy taco casserole*.

*sidenote: wow, look how terrible those food photos are! So happy for extended daylight hours and my increasing camera skills.

But I didn’t have those ingredients either.

Double sigh.

Whatever. I can improvise. And improvising tasted particularly delicious tonight. In part because this recipe is very easy, and also because I love cheese.

Taco Pie

Serves 6

Ingredients

10-12 corn tortillas

1 can black beans (rinsed/drained)

1 cup Morning Star crumbles

1/2 cup diced onion

1/2 cup diced bell pepper (I used yellow)

1 1/2 cups 1% cottage cheese

3 oz shredded pepperjack cheese

1-2 oz cheddar cheese

1 cup salsa (I used Kirkland Organic)

1/4 cup taco seasoning (or one packet)

3 TBS red taco sauce

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients in large bowl, (except tortillas, cheddar cheese and red taco sauce).

Spray round baking dish (or 8×8 pan) with cooking spray and layer 2 tortillas (if round dish) or 3 tortillas (if 8×8 pan).

Spread layer of cheese/bean mixture.

Alternate layers of tortillas and cheese/bean mixture, with tortilla layer on top. Spread taco sauce on top, and sprinkle with cheddar.

Cover dish with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes. If you like your cheese crispy, (really, who doesn’t?), broil on low an additional 2 minutes.

Why hello, crispy cheese.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes, slice and serve with desired toppings. May I suggest avocado?

Enjoy.

Yay, food survey

This has been floating around the foodie blog world for a few days, and seeing as how it is 9 p.m. on Monday and I’ve yet to figure out my meal plan for the week, you’re getting my answers too.

A is for Apple: What’s your favorite variety?
Honeycrisps are my absolute favorite. I wish they were in season longer. I’ll settle for pink ladies or cameos if the crisps aren’t available.
B is for Bread: Regardless of nutrition, what is your favorite type?
Sourdough, for sure. Back in high school I would buy round loaves of Safeway brand sourdough bread and a tub of butter for every tennis, basketball and cheer road trip. How I wasn’t 300 pounds amazes me.
C is for Cereal: What is your favorite kind currently? (just one!)
Currently? Hmmm, I pretty much just stick to oatmeal. But if we’re talking cold cereal then I am a pretty big fan of Nature’s Path granola (pumpkin flax).
D is for Donuts: You might not currently eat them, but what kind do you fancy?
I’m a maple bar girl, always have been. I rarely have them anymore.


E is for Eggs: How would you like yours prepared?
I have a love/hate relationship with eggs. Right now we get along, and I’m digging hard boiled egg wraps. I also like them fried (over medium – just a little drippy), or scrambled, breakfast burrito style.


F is for Fat Free: What is your favorite fat free product?
Fage or Chobani yogurt (although 2% is better). Back in the day I used to think fat free implied healthy. No, I’ve learned, it does not. It can, but it isn’t the end all be all.


G is for Groceries: Where do you purchase yours?
Currently, I purchase the majority of our haul at Costco or Safeway. I miss the Rosauer’s behind my old apartment (but not the apartment). I also cannot wait for Trader Joe’s to open! And now that spring has sprung, I’ve been able to hit up the farmer’s market for some of my veggies and meat.


H: is for Hot Beverages: What is your favorite hot drink?
Coffee, hands down. I’m slightly sad I am no longer a barista.

I is for Ice Cream: Pick a favorite flavor and add a fun topping
I prefer soft serve frozen yogurt, and am boring with vanilla as my top choice. I’m also a sucker for sprinkling crushed up butterfingers. Ahhh processed sugar. I love you.
K is for Kashi: Name your favorite Kashi product?
I used to love Kashi products, now I rarely buy them. They kind of taste like cardboard (yes, all of them).
L is for Lunch: What was yours today?
A very, very delicious reuben from The Elk. On the side I nibbled on some Tim’s potato chips and sipped on a Blackthorn cider.
M is for microwave: What is your favorite microwave meal/snack?
Oatmeal. Yes, I am one of those odd people who prefers her oats to be microwaved. Maybe it is from all those oatmeal bowls I made in college, where a microwave was my only source of heating a dish, but I just prefer the texture of  microwaved oats.
N is for nutrients: Do you likes carbs, fats, or proteins best?
*raises hand* Carboholic for sure. Bread is my favorite vice, followed quickly by granola.
O is for oil: What kind do you like to use?
Extra Virgin Olive Oil the majority of the time. Although I make my salad dressing with canola and dip my bread in truffle oil.
P is for protein: How do you get yours?
Chicken, ground turkey, black beans, garbanzo beans, peanut butter and cheese are regularly in my meals. Very rarely do I eat red meat or pork. The hubs has to prepare those meats if he wants them. And I almost never eat those leftovers.
Q is for Quaker: How do you like your oats?
I prefer them hot with chia seeds (I’m currently out – tear), cinnamon, vanilla almond milk and whatever mix-in strikes my fancy. Currently I am on a dried cherry kick. But I also like blueberries/vanilla/banana, pumpkin/vanilla/pecan, and craisin/pecan.

R is for roasting: What is your favorite thing to roast?
Vegetables including brussel sprouts, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, carrots and garlic.

S is for sandwich: What’s your favorite kind?
Mmmm, I love sandwiches. Just like Joey. I might even save a sandwich if it was put in a dangerous situation.

My favorite starts with sourdough bread (see above, B), topped with a laughing cow wedge, a generous amount of horseradish, sliced tomato, sweet onion (Walla Walla’s are the best), avocado and turkey. Mmmm, happy me.
T is for travel: How do you handle eating while traveling?
It depends where I am traveling. If I am en route to my parents house, (where I generally find myself traveling to),  my dad will stock their pantry and fridge with my favorites. If I am traveling to a place that is lucky enough to have a Trader Joe’s I will generally stop there and purchase eats for the week. I like to eat out as often as my wallet will allow, and will often scope out my dining options days (or weeks!) in advance.
U is for unique: What is one of your weirdest food combos?
Hmmm I love wasabi in my tuna salads, which I’ve never heard of anyone else doing.
V is for vitamins: What kind do you take
I take a B-12 (started taking when I went veg for Lent, and liked the way they made me feel, so I continued even though I am back on meat), magnesium (to help my muscles after running), and a prenatal (no, I am not trying for a baby spinach. It helps my hair and nails grow, plus it has lots of great things for women and general, so why not?).
W is for wasabi: Yay or nay?
YAY! I find it really funny that I LOOOOOVE wasabi (and horseradish), but I am not a fan of most hot sauces.
X is XRAY: If we xrayed your belly right now, what food would we see?
A wrap (filled with a hard boiled egg, laughing cow wedge, stone ground mustard, sweet onion, tomato and avocado) and a ridiculous amount of watermelon.

(source)
*This is kind of what my stomach looks like right now. Mmmmm, watermelon.

Y is for youth: What food reminds you of your childhood?
Gushers and fruit by the foot, Lucky Charms, Tuna noodle helper, spaghetti and meatballs, turkey on the grill (Thanksgiving), push pops, cooler ranch doritos (remember when they had both cool ranch and cooler ranch?), strawberry soda, and frozen mini pizzas. Yep, I was a really healthy kid.
Z is for zucchini: How do you prepare it?
Mmmm, my favorite way is to make green bruschetta (stay tuned for that recipe), but I also like it roasted or grilled.

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readers:

Pick 3 questions above and answer please. (I hope you pick the childhood foods question, hint hint).

On running.

I’ve been having a love/hate relationship with all things exercise lately. My gym buddy started riding her bike to work, (go Erica!), and while this is great for her and the environment, it hasn’t helped me get my bootay to the gym before work. I did take note one day (during bike to work week, of course), and rode my (very pretty) bike to work and parked it in my office.

Why yes, that is an apple eraser magnet on my white board. Teacher nerd alert!

It was a fun and short (4 miles) ride, but my back got all sweaty due to my goodies, (purse, lunch, 2 water bottles & coffee), on my back.

But aside from that, and a few (very lackluster) elliptical dates, I have been a major slacker over the past week. Contrary to my weigh in Wednesday this week, (which was written on the previous week’s work outs).

The culprit? Cramps. Thank you mother nature. I think working with middle schoolers has propelled me back to the days of trying to get out of gym because of cramps. Hormones must be a catchable disease. I’ve got a pimple on my nose to back this theory up.

I know that getting my heart rate up and the blood flowing will help alleviate my cramps, and subsequent crampy attitude, but I’m much more content to whine about it, curl up with a bag of Kettle Buffalo Bleu chips and nosh on  dark chocolate.

But I do have half-marathon training to complete. And I need to get my head (and legs!) in the game. So when I stumbled upon a running survey on Lori’s blog, I thought it might be fun to do and just enough motivation to get me through today’s scheduled 9 mile run. Nine miles. Oy.

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What is your favorite type of cross training?
Elliptical. There is just something about zoning out with a copy of Women’s Health magazine, (or US Weekly….Hubs, time to renew!). Sometimes I do HIIT, but usually I just set the resistance to 9 and go for an hour.

What is your favorite song to run to?
My current favorite really surprised me: Cosmic Love by Florence + The Machine. I threw it on my Bloomsday play list, just to try it out, and wound up falling in love with it. I usually repeat it 3 or 4 times on a long run.

Other favorites include: Sweet Disposition by The Temper Trap, Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey, Banquet by Bloc Party, Rolling in the Deep by Adele, Opposite of Adults (ftg. MGMT) by Chiddy Bang, Firework by Katy Perry, Supermassive Black Hole by Muse, Sealion  by Feist, The Owls Go by Architecture in Helsinki, and Inkwell (Crashed-Cop-Car Remix) by Blue Scholars.

What brand of shoes do you wear?
Asics (T964N), but they are very worn out. I need to get my bootay to The Runner’s Soul and have them watch me run/get new shoes.

Do you wear a hat when you run?
No. I have a small sweat-wicking headband, but I really want a bondi band. Specifically, this one:

(source)

It’s perfect for my Fueled by Fine Wine 1/2 Marathon, don’t you think?

What temperature is your favorite for running?
Between 45 and 60 degrees. Because of my athsma I have a difficult time regulating my body temperature, and overheat very easily. Or maybe my athsma is resultant of my inability to regulate body temperature. Whatever the case, I prefer to run in slightly cooler weather. But I need to get used to running in the heat, or my July 10th half is going to suck!

Do you have any big races coming up?
I’m running the Fueled by Fine Wine 1/2 marathon on July 10th. I am also toying with the idea of the 10K Dirty Dash on August 20 in Spokane and the Iron Girl 10K on September 11th in Seattle.

What is your favorite distance?
4-5 miles is a nice every day distance.

Are you a morning, noon or evening runner?
Morning, but not by choice. I can’t run at the end of the day because things always come up. Noon would be preferable, but there is that whole working woman thing that gets in the way.

Do you run solo or with a buddy?
I run solo, but my partner in crime, Reese, and I text each other after our long runs to ensure we stay on track for half marathon training.

What is your favorite pre-run fuel?
I added this one, since I couldn’t answer two for-seasoned-runners-only-appropriate questions.

Usually a peanut butter and banana sandwich on Dave’s Killer Bread. But today I decided to change it up (not much) and eat oats topped with cinnamon, raw sugar, half a banana and some chunky peanut butter.

I’m (kind of) experimenting with different pre-run foods so I know exactly what will fuel be best for my half this summer.

What’s your favorite post-run snack?
Green monster! My fav mix is 1-2 cups baby spinach, 3/4 cup frozen tropical fruit blend (strawberry, mango, pineapple), 1 cup vanilla almond milk & 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder.


What’s your FAVORITE race?
I’ve only run one, Bloomsday (12K), and it was so much fun 🙂

Do you wear a Garmin?  If not, how do you track your runs? 
No, but it is on my birthday Amazon wish list. Only 5 more weeks Hubs…

Last week I downloaded the Log Your Run app. It uses GPS to track my mileage. I got the free version, which has emergency contact info, the ability to customize a play list (which doesn’t work for me, since I dropped my iPhone in a fountain last summer and the iPod function doesn’t work), and has a couple other features. It doesn’t, however, break down my miles/speed for me. I think the pay version might do that. It is also kind of a pain to have to start/stop and put in my iFitness belt. A Garmin will be much more user friendly, but the free app works for now.

Who is your running idol?
I don’t have one. But I am quite impressed with my running buddy from afar, Reese. In 2010 her resolution was to run a race for every holiday, and she did!

How long have you been a runner?
I became a runner in 2011. I toyed with running before this year, but it never stuck until March 2011.

Do you run with your engagement/wedding ring on?
No – swollen fingers!

What’s your favorite workout? repeats? long runs? tempo? fartleks?
Long runs.  I cannot sprint, or even run quickly, to save my soul. Slow and steady is my mantra. Plus long runs gives me plenty of time to think, sort out my life, and create new recipes. Yes, I constantly think of food while running: what will I eat to refuel, what can I make for dinner without going to the grocery store, do I have enough ingredients at home to make a dessert?

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What about you? What is your favorite exercise? Do you use running as therapy too?

Downtown Spokane Eats: Mizuna

Hey, hey, hey, it’s that time again. Restaurant review, Foodbeat NW style. You may remember the review on The Flying Goat I did a few months back.  This review, again, is written by me and brought to you in conjunction with Foodbeat NW.

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Foodbeat NW‘s mission is:

SUPPORT LOCAL FOOD. Committed to showcasing independent restaurants and food artisans around the Pacific NW. Keep coming back for fresh, releveant info about local dining in & dining out experiences.

Check out their facebook page to find foodie news from all over the Pacific Northwest. But until then, find out my thoughts on Mizuna below.

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Spokane is often scoffed at, considered the neglected redheaded, freckled, stepchild of Seattle. While chain restaurants still cloud the northern, southern and eastern corners of our city, the downtown scene has picked itself up, cleaned itself off, and is here to offer residents and travelers quite a few dining options.

 

One restaurant that has called downtown Spokane home for many years is Mizuna. Mizuna touts itself as Spokane’s leading vegetarian restaurant, and for good reason. While many restaurants offer one or two vegetarian options, Mizuna has an entire menu dedicated to the herbivore crowd. Carnivores have no fear; many local meat options are available as well.

All entrée options sound interesting at first glance, and I am pleased to report that the menu rotates seasonally and features local northwest organic ingredients, earning it a Foodbeat Northwest stamp of approval. Also full of local favorites is the rather extensive Northwest wine list, featuring many of my favorite Washington wineries.

While considering the menu options, including the Pan Seared Halibut, Sweet Chili Marinated Tempe and House-Made Seitan, we nibbled on bread dipped in house-infused garlic rosemary olive oil. They chose the Pappardelle Pasta with Eggplant Meatballs and Vegetarian Carbonara with Vegan Bacon, peas, shallots, herbs, cherry tomatoes and shaved parmesan, (options I was salivating over). I selected the meat special of the evening: Lamb Shank Osso Buco with goat cheese polenta and gremolata braised carrots.

 

As a woman married to a bacon aficionado, (aren’t all men?), I enjoy a crispy slice every so often. I did not have high hopes for the vegan bacon in the Vegetarian Carbonara dish, but I was blown away! I couldn’t believe I was eating a vegan version of my beloved breakfast protein source. Equally enjoyable were the eggplant meatballs. These orbs were perfectly seasoned, smooth and moist in the center and crisp on the outside. I opted against stealing the entire plate and focused instead on my mouth watering, fall off the bone lamb osso buco. Although we were all rather full, we decided to split the famous vegan carrot cake. This vegan delight is hearty and chunky, and easily beats out any carrot cake I’ve ever eaten. I’m still slightly sad I did not order a second piece to take home.

 

All in all I was, and always am, very pleased with my Mizuna dining experience. The staff is knowledgeable, friendly and accommodating and you will be welcomed as though you were an old friend.

Lemon Asparagus Pasta

It is no secret I love lemon. Evidence found here, here, and here. Clearly I should have been born in Italy*.

(source)
*The Hubs’ parents had an exchange student (hi Sylvia!) from Italy a few years back and she was obsessed with lemons. She says it is an Italian thing. I believe her.

Another ingredient that blesses my dinner plate (or snack plate, or lunch pate) with great frequency is the oh so delicious garlic clove.

Asparagus, however, is reserved for special occasions. Such occasions usually involve a trip to the farmer’s market, which means they only happen between May and October.

(source)

Put all of these ingredients together and you’ve got a fabulous summer meal.

Lemon Asparagus Pasta

Serves 5

Nurtitionals: Cal: 307, Carb: 36g, Pro: 9g, Fat: 14g, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 3g

Ingredients

Pasta:

8 oz pasta of your choosing (my favorite is Barilla Plus)

2 cups chopped asparagus (approximately 1 inch chunks)

3/4 cup diced green onion

1/3 cup shredded parmesan

*optional: protein source of your choice (chicken, garbanzo beans, tofu), will add extra calories. We added one 8oz grilled chicken breast. (not included in nutritionals).

Sauce:

3 TBS lemon juice

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 TBS stone ground mustard

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

Directions

Boil pasta according to package directions. When 3 minutes remain, add cut asparagus to pasta and continue to cook.

Meanwhile mix all dressing ingredients.

After pasta finishes cooking, drain and add back to pot. Stir in green onions, parmesan and dressing. Serve immediately.

Weigh in + WIAW

I enjoyed last week’s What I ate Wednesday (WIAW) post so much, I decided to come back and do it again. But with a twist. Unlike last week, I will not neglect my weekly weigh-in. So just like you get double U’s, (or V’s, if that is how you see them. I do.), you get double W’s today.

I know, you’re stoked.

W #1

As far as weighing in goes, this week I’ve chosen to focus on fitness. My half marathon training hasn’t been going according to the excel sheet plan my running buddy Reese sent me. I’m sure she is logging her runs on the days we should, (we text each other after our runs since we live 4.5 hours apart). I, on the other hand, am not running on the assigned days. I’m not resting on the days I should either. And when the plan calls for me to run 4 miles, I run 4.69. Plan says 5? I’ll go 6.77, thankyouverymuch.

While I am generally of the opinion that more is better, I know I am doing my body a disservice. On Sunday I went on an 8.51 mile run slow jog, and felt like utter crap the entire time and my right knee was not happy with me.

A normal person would ice her knee, take a few days off, and fuel properly. But I am not a normal person. So I forged through and worked out for an hour Monday morning. Stupid decision. The Hubs very politely nudged me to take a rest day on Tuesday. I begrudgingly agreed. And although I was grumpy about it, I am glad I did. I’m hoping for a much better and more energized run today.

W #2

Today’s WIAW is actually a visual representation (actualization?) of what I ate Monday. I figure an M is just and upside down W,* so it works in my book blog.

*or is it a right side up W? Or is a W an upside down M? Life’s questions I may never know the answers to…

5:15 a.m. 1/2 a cuppa joe with 2% milk.

Followed by 4 dried apricots. Yes, it is really that bright at 5:15 a.m. Amazing.

Some people can’t stomach coffee before working out, but for me it is a necessary vice. It definitely helped relax my muscles after Sunday’s 8.51 mile run.

6-7 a.m. Date with a stationary bike and the stretching room at the YMCA.

8:15 a.m. H2O, more coffee (with 2% and 1.5 tsp raw sugar) and oats.

My oats were a mix of Quaker quick oats, chia seeds, pecans, cinnamon, dried cherries & vanilla almond milk.

11:45 a.m. Wrap (with the best tortilla ever) filled with a laughing cow wedge, stone ground mustard, hard boiled egg, cilantro, tomato & sweet onion.

On the side I munched on a golden delicious, (ironic name, because it isn’t delicious), and drank more H2O.

2 p.m. Snack attack satisfied with baby carrots and horseradish hummus (from a baggie, ’cause I’m klassy with a K),

and water bottle number three for the day.

4 p.m. Hunger finally strikes and is somewhat satisfied by a sad looking nanner and a blueberry chobani, (the least favorite and always neglected flavor from the Costco box).

5:30 p.m. Anxiously waiting for The Hubs to get home from work so I could start dinner lead my fingers to wander to the open bag of chocolate covered peanut butter pretzels.

7:30 p.m. Mmmm….dinner. My favorite meal of the day. Last Thursday The Hubs and I hit up the opening day of the South Perry Farmer’s Market and we walked away with a fresh bunch of asparagus.

And on Sunday evening The Hubs grilled up four massive chicken breasts for easy weeknight meals. Monday I decided to dice one up and add it to an asparagus inspired meal: Lemon Asparagus Pasta (recipe coming tomorrow!).

On the side I enjoyed a salad of organic baby spinach, tomato, cucumber and homemade shallot dressing.

A few skittles may have passed my lips as I read a few chapters in Just Listen. But the camera ate those pictures. But my header does show skittles…so if you really need a visual feel free to scroll up.

What is your favorite meal of the day?

Roasted Garlic Hummus

I have a rather fun and eclectic group of friends. We used to have country themed potluck parties once a month. The first was an Ethiopian themed feast. We moved through the world, enjoying dishes from Ireland, India and Spain (just to name a few). But over time things changed. People moved away. People had kids. And life generally got in the way.

But this weekend, we loaded up the bikes, and pedaled three miles south as our good friends Crissy and Kevin revived our potluck tradition with a trip to Greece in their backyard.

It was quite the feast.

Obviously I needed to try a little of everything.

Mmmmm, lamb ribs…I don’t even like ribs, but these were amazing!

At first I couldn’t decide what to make. Visions of tzatziki and baklava danced through my head, but in the end hummus won out, (as it usually does). I did, after all, receive a little nudge from Crissy as she politely asked if I might be bringing my famous hummus.

And so I bestow to you, dear bloggettes, my Roasted Garlic Hummus recipe.

Ingredients

1 can garbanzo beans (Keep half of the liquid. The garbanzo “juice” helps with the consistency)

1 head roasted garlic

2 TBS extra virgin olive oil

1 TBS tahini

1.5 TBS lemon juice

1.5 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp Tapatio (or hot sauce of your choosing)

Directions

Throw all ingredients in your food processor (or blender), whirl away.

I like my hummus to be extra creamy, so I walk away for 2-3 minutes and let the food processor do its thang.

I wish I had a pretty picture to show you, but I boxed this up, brought it to the party, and not a bite was left at the end of the night, (and I made a double batch!).

So you get dippable veggies…

and tupperweared hummus instead 🙂