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.


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


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


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?


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.

*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.



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.


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:


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?


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