Home Sweet Home

Recently my crazy life has taken a turn, and I am so excited to say that I am back home for the next 5 days!  It’s great to be back in Wisconsin-the land of cheese and beer.  Since coming back home, I have been reminded of all the reasons as to why I love this beautiful state.  It’s simplicity is refreshing, and if all goes well I hope to call it home again very soon!   However, if I do move back the one thing I will not miss is the never ending winter season.  I was home during the holiday break this past December, and it was -30 degrees below zero; No thank you…  Hopefully this next upcoming year will be a more mild winter than the last.

Chickas from HS days

Chickas from my HS days

Last night I was able to go out with one of my great friends from high school, and live it up down town.  I ran into many people whom I hadn’t seen in over 5 years, and it was great to catch up and talk about the good ole’ high school days.  We went to a bar named Mustangs, and I wasn’t expecting them to bring real, living-and-breathing horses to the damn bar.  Low and behold I turned around and my friend Taylor has convinced the owner to ride it.

Taylor on the horse!

Taylor on the horse!

 

 

Our night was so much fun, and we partied into the wee hours of the morning.  I spent the night with her, but had to sleep with one eye open in fear of her crazy dog Ringo.  Apparently Ringo has issues with all people other than his owner, and I assure you that you will be sorry if you even so as look at him the wrong way.

I am quite excited that Taylor and I both follow the Paleo lifestyle, and this morning she whipped up a delicious breakfast of eggs, bacon, and sweet potato hash browns.  We spent the rest of the morning lounging around and talking about our plans for the future.  She will most likely be moving to AZ and I back here.  After raiding her book shelf and hair products,  we said our goodbyes and she sent me off with a great Paleo cookie recipe to try.  Taylor has always been an amazing baker and I am trusting that these will be delicious, and I can’t wait to bake them and then post the recipe!  The rest of my weekend here in WI will be spent watching my brother play baseball and spending some quality time with my family.  It is great to be with my family and friends, and I can’t wait to soon move back to the dairy land!

 

 

 

 

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Slow and Steady Wins the Race

This past weekend I spent a great deal of time walking outside and catching up on TV series that I had fallen behind on.  One of my favorite shows that I watched was “The Mindy Project.”  Watching Mindy Lahiri’s melodrama unfold is always hilarious, and I must say that I love her ever-changing love debauchery.  At the end of the most recent episode Mindy climbs to the top of the Empire State building for her one true love, and by the end she is nearly passed out lying on the floor panting.  The expression of pure exhaustion on her face is exactly how I felt on Sunday after I accidentally walked 10 miles.  I say “accidentally” because I got lost on my walk and ended up having to backtrack two miles of my walking on the River Walk trail in the wrong direction.

Turtle I saw on my walk

Turtle I saw on my walk

Needless to say it ended up being for the better as I have now complete a total of 26 miles for my 50 miles of walking in 15 days challenge.  I have 7 more days to go of my challenge, and I am determined to cross the finish line!  They always say “slow and steady wins the

race” and they were not lying, I am taking it slow but I will win.  (BTW: I am pretty sure that this mantra was meant for me because I saw a turtle crossing the path on my 10-mile walk.)

Since moving to Texas I have been exposed to many new things including, extreme heat, complicated highways and lots and LOTS of Mexican food.  Of the different varieties of Mexican food that I have tried, my favorite has been migas, which is a traditional breakfast delight.  Migas consists of scrambled eggs with lightly sautéed onion, tomato and fresh cilantro.  Typically it is served with fried tortilla strips, but since switching to Paleo, I made my own “clean” rendition of one of my favorite Mexican dishes.  Below you will find my rendition of migas, that I made for brunch    this past Sunday.   Enjoy!

Migas

Serves 1

Prep time: 5 min   Ι   Cook time: 10 min   Ι   Total Time: 15 min

Ingredients:
  • 1 table-spoon of fat of choice (I used bacon fat)

    Migas with a side of bacon

    Migas with a side of bacon

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 4-6 cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 table-spoon granulated garlic
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • Optional Toppings: Avocado Slices, Sriracha sauce
Instructions:
  1. Heat fat of choice in a pan on Medium heat.
  2. Meanwhile place eggs in a bowl, add garlic, salt, and pepper.  Beat eggs until frothy and completely mixed.
  3. Once FOC has melted, and pan is hot add half of the onion.  Sautee until translucent.
  4. Then add eggs and let sit in pan for 1 minute, and then add the rest of the ingredients to the egg mixture.
  5. Scramble and cook until eggs are cooked to your liking (about 2 minutes).
  6. Serve with sliced avocado and Sriracha sauce!

 

 

BONUS: more pictures with my new BFF-Nature!

 

Beautiful Wild Flowers

Beautiful Wild Flowers

River Walk at Sunset

River Walk at Sunset

 

New Confession: Nature is going to be My New Best Friend

Hill CountryGrowing up I was one of those children who was perfectly content spending everyday cooped up in my room entranced by the words of a book.  Although punishment for me was rare, instead of my mother using traditional methods of grounding, she would send me outside to do yard work or play in the dirt.  From dealing with the thousands of allergies I have to the Earth to not wanting to get my shoes dirty, I avoided the outdoors like it was the plague.  Even as an adult nature has tended to be a foe of mine rather than a friend, but I am determined to make the wilderness my new BFF!

This past weekend I had a great go with building a new friendship, I spent the weekend in the woods of Hill Country in Concan, TX.  My roommates and I kicked off our Saturday morning hiking at Garner State Park.  I was under the impression that we would be going on a nice stroll with beautiful scenic views.  However, what I discovered was that this “hike” was more like mountain climbing, and was quite taxing.  The incline alone was exhausting, and then we approached a part of the “hike” where we had to climb up rocks that were taller than all of us put together.  To top it all off, (once I finally reached to the top of the rocks) my roommate stretched her lengthy limbs and elbowed me in the jaw.  At that moment I thought I saw my life ending, and imagined myself tumbling down the side towards my imminent death.  But instead I just tripped and ended up having a sore cheekbone.  After visiting the “painted rock” (which might I add was not painted) and climbing through a cave, we reached the top, and the view was absolutely breath-taking.

My encounters with nature have not always been the best, but I am determined to challenge myself to get down and dirty and have fun in the sun and the woods.

In the midst of my 6 mile walk

In the midst of my 6 mile walk

The challenge I am making to myself is to walk 50 miles outside in 15 days.  Sunday was day one of my outdoor walking challenge, and I managed to walk 6 miles of the mission trails on the river walk.  By the time I got to mile 5, I was swearing, delusional and frustrated that I had forced myself to walk so far.  But by the end of my walk I was quite proud of my feat of walking 6 miles in 90-degree weather.  Sunday May 25th will be the day that I reach my goal of 50 miles in 15 days.  Join me to make #nature my new best friend!

 

 

 

Bonus: Enjoy the pictures of my encounters with nature from the weekend!

Let the rock climbing begin!   My roommate gave me a boost!

Let the rock climbing begin! My roommate gave me a boost!

Nature

Me hiking, this is prior to the switch to rock climbing.

Me hiking, this is prior to the switch to rock climbing.

The View from the top of the hike!

The View from the top of the hike!

Beautiful Views

 

 

 

 

 

Scenic Views on my 6 mile walk

Scenic Views on my 6 mile walk

SA River Walk

Sweet Summertime

 

Prior to our "Little Mermaid" Escapades

Prior to our “Little Mermaid” Escapade

This week has been extremely relaxing at work because our high school students are taking state testing.  My coworkers and I were able to take a much needed half day and spend the day relaxing, eating barbecue, and splashing at the pool.  It was such a beautiful day, and we spent a great deal of time disturbing other pool goers with our continuous singing of selections from “The Little Mermaid.”  The seven of us acted as if we were the lead singers in the musical, and pranced with twists and turns in the pool as we belted the songs!  I’m sure it was quite amusing for other people to watch a bunch of 20 somethings act like fools in the water, but needless to say we enjoyed ourselves and had a ton of fun together.

After we sang our hearts out in the pool (and turned to pruning pumpkins) we headed over to the grill and ate a delicious feast of barbecue chicken, steak, fruit salad, kale salad, and my Paleo rendition of summer “pasta” salad.  The summer “pasta” salad I made turned out amazing, and everyone thought it was normal pasta salad.  But little did they know that I tricked them into eating a healthy salad that was both nutritious and delicious!  We all stuffed our faces until it felt like we could easily enter a coma.  I ate entirely too much food, but it was totally worth it, and later that evening I’m positive I worked off all that I had consumed at Zumba.

My Zumba Instructor is one of those people that has the ability to have you leaving with the feeling that you could totally be a dancer in a rap video.  Her energy is contagious, and you will see many Zumba practicers wearing shirts that say “Team Victoria” or “Victoria rocks.”  Her class is insanely hard and the room get so damn hot that it looks as if the flood gates had opened and rained in the class room.  By the end of the class the floor was completely wet, the glass was so fogged that you couldn’t even see the shape of your body and people were drenched in sweat.  As soon as I got home I zonked out in my bed and dreamt of mermaids signing terribly.

 

Sweet Summertime “Pasta” Salad

Serves 8

Prep time: 20 min    Ι    Cook time: 5 min    Ι    Total time: 25 min

Ingredients for Salad:
  • 1/2 of a Mozzarella Cheese Log, thinly sliced
  • 3 Large Zucchini, julienned
  • 1/2 cup of fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup of basil pesto
  • 2 1/2 cups of heirloom cherry tomatoes, cut in quarters

    Zucchini "Spaghetti"

    Zucchini “Spaghetti”

  • 1 table spoon of balsamic glaze
  • 1 table spoon of granulated garlic
  • 1/2 table spoon of Italian Seasoning
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
Instructions
  1. Using a mandolin julienne zucchini.  It should resemble spaghetti noodles, set aside in a large bowl.
  2. Add mozzarella, fresh basil, heirloom cherry tomatoes, granulated garlic, and Italian seasoning into large bowl, and mix well with the zucchini.
  3. Once mixed, add fresh basil pesto and balsamic glaze, and mix well.
  4. Sprinkle salt and pepper to tast and drizzle extra balsamic glaze on top.
  5. Chill for 2 to 6 hours and serve cold.
Final Product

Final Product

 

 

 

New Confession: I’m Addicted to CHIPOTLE

Even though I have recommitted to the Paleo lifestyle there’s been one particular restaurant that I just can’t seem to get enough of and of course it’s Chipotle. Everything about this fast food restaurant is amazing from there absolutely delicious guacamole to the Chipotle chicken that they make so fantastically, I just can’t seem to get enough.  I remember many times in college when Chipotle would be my dinner for five days in a row. However, it wasn’t quite as healthy as the way in which I am eating today.  In the past two weeks alone I have frequented Chipotle four times, and even went yesterday for lunch with  all of my coworkers.   

Since my  addiction seems to be getting out-of-control I decided to put my cooking skills to the test and make a Chipotle recipe of my own to re-create the Chipotle salad that I love to eat so much.  Let me tell you when I took my first bite into my homemade creation I literally thought I was back at the restaurant and I can’t believe how amazing it turned out. Below you will find the one of the  recipes on how I re-created my Chipotle bowl filled with corn salsa, tomato pico de gallo, grilled bell peppers and Chipotle chicken.

 

 

Chipotle Chicken

 

Serves 4

Prep Time: 10 min   Ι   Cook Time: 20 min   Ι   Total Time: 30 min

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb of boneless skinless chicken thighsChipotle Chicken Salad
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 table spoons of Olive Oil
  • 1 table-spoon of Chipotle Chile
  • 1 table-spoon of cumin
  • 1 table-spoon of Granulated Garlic
  • 1/2 table-spoon of Oregano
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Instructions:
  1. Place chicken into a Ziplock bag and add water, olive oil, chipotle chile, cumin, granulated garlic, oregano, salt and pepper to the bag.
  2. Shake ingredients in the bag well, until all chicken is covered with seasoning.
  3. Place chicken in the refrigerator and marinate for at least 6 hours (I let my chicken marinate overnight).
  4. Once chicken has marinated, set oven to 385º Fahrenheit.
  5. Place chicken on a grill baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes on each side.
  6. After chicken has completed cooking, let sit for 10 minutes and then slice to your liking (I cut my chicken into chunks).

 

 

 

 

Viva Portugal

Taylor, Chloe, Aaron, and myself  out in Austin on Rainy Street (This is prior to trying the amazing drink called "The Emily).

Taylor, Chloe, Aaron, and myself out in Austin on Rainy Street (This is prior to trying the amazing drink called “The Emily”).

This past weekend was one of the most fun-filled and exciting times I have had in a while, and I was able to spend it with people who I hadn’t seen in a very long time.  Three years ago, I experienced one of the best times in my life when I lived and studied abroad in Portugal.  I met some of the most amazing people, and after months of planning we finally reunited and spent a weekend filled with adventure and what felt like excessive exercise in Austin, TX.  We spent time hiking at the very rocky yet beautiful Zilker Park, basked in the sun at the Barton Springs pool, partied on Rainy and 6th street, and relived many memories from our time living in Portugal together.  We enjoyed great company, food and a few too many drinks (if you’re ever in Austin, try “The Emily”, it will change your life!).  The icing on top of the cake was that our taxi driver was Brazilian, and we were able to dust off our rusty Portuguese and spend some time speaking the language we had all learned together.

 

The barbecue that practically made me cry

The barbecue that practically made me cry

Although it was absolutely amazing to be reunited with some of the best people I know, this weekend was definitely a new testament to my recently changed eating habits.  Austin is the city of TexMex and barbecue that could make even the most macho men cry.  After spending the day hiking in the sun, the four of us headed to Salt Lick to try what we had been told was the best barbecue in Texas.  Let me tell y’all, they were not lying when they said that you would find the best barbecue in Texas.  Salt Lick was literally the best barbecue I have ever had in my life, and I have eaten a ton of barbecue.  If if was possible to marry the beef brisket that I ate, I would be the first one in line at the altar.  We all ate great food, but can I just say I was so proud of myself because even when faced with difficult eating decisions, I did not let this feat get to me, and enjoyed every single thing I ate, all of which was Paleo approved!

The people in Austin are definitely living up to the expectations of “keeping Austin weird”, and it was such a great city to build more crazy memories with my friends.  Tenho saudades already, and I can’t wait for another adventure with my friends that I became so close to in Portugal.  Viva Portugal!

 

Bonus:  This morning when I weighed myself, the scale did not lie and I lost 11 pounds!!! Whooooo hoooo, take that Salt Lick, I still was able to eat great food and kick butt at the same time!  I am determined and will be pageant ready by next year!

New Confessions: New Beginnings

My senior year of high school I was elected to be on the prom queen ballot with all of my best friends.  The only problem was, I was afraid of being a plus size queen.  High School was a time in my life filled with dances, laughter, girls-night sleepovers, and looking back I had no real worries.  Except of course, my constant thought of whether or not I was going to win prom queen, what college I would attend that upcoming fall, and my plus size figure.  Maybe I was the typical teenaged girl that stressed over the remedial things in life, but can you blame a 17 year old?  As it turns out I didn’t win the prom queen nomination, but I did have an amazing prom experience.  As my senior year came to an end, I had the thought in my mind that if I couldn’t be prom queen, then I would one day become a pageant queen.  With graduation in sight, planning for college and the other million things I had going on, being a plus sized pageant queen became a long lost dream.  The pageant passed, and I spent the summer attending graduation parties and living the last few months with my friends to the fullest.

The memories of high school were over, and I would soon be entering the next chapter of my life.  I was the new and improved Kat (my short hair cut was the improvement).  However, while new beginnings were budding in my life, I still felt like my plus size status was holding me back.  Five years have past since my high school prom days.  Even after spending my college days as a sorority girl, and leaving with the thought that the world was my oyster, I still felt the stinging pang of my not so little body.  It is time for me to make a drastic change in my life through exercise, clean eating and good wholesome gossip…about my life.

These confessions will act as the documented stories of my trials, tribulations, and accomplishments as I seek out to change my plus size status and compete in a pageant by next year.  Get ready for a year of paleo recipes, pageant girl drama and endless possibilities.