Category Archives: Self Improvement

Lazy Bones “Mexican” Beef

In honor of the Cinco de Mayo and being stuck at home, here’s a stripped down recipe. Once again, I looked at a real recipe, thought that looked like a lot of work, and made it simpler.

Does anyone remember the Abs Diet? It was like low fat and Atkins had a baby.  Lean meats and net carbs. I can’t say the few recipes I got from it did much for my abs at the time, but the general gist of their Aztec Casserole stuck with me through the years and modified pretty easily to being Paleo.  (It’s also the reason I got off High Fructose Corn Syrup years before it became a well-known “thing” – yeah, I got my naval pierced before it was cool too. I’m totally a trendsetter. )

Ingredients for Mexican beef

  • 1 lb ground beef (I like grass fed, usually 85/15 – leaner means separate oil for the pan)
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • Cauliflower Rice (Trader Joe’s is good, cheap, and frozen to use whenever – trifecta!)

All the rest of this is “to taste”

  • Salsa
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cumin

Begin to brown the burger over medium heat. I usually just plop the chunk in the pan and squish it down with the spatula to spread it out. No oil required, the fat will render out and do the work for you. Just remember to be patient and don’t try to start chopping it up until it’s mostly cooked. Maybe other people were taught that, maybe someone even told me once and I got impatient, but really, leave it alone for a bit and save yourself some hassle. It crumbles up when it’s far enough along.

While the burger is cooking, chop the onion and pepper.  I like to chop them into good sized chunks, big enough to stab with a fork after cooking.  How much pepper and onion is up to you, but I find 1/2 onion per every whole pepper keeps it roughly even. And for this recipe, that amount seems to hit the right meat/veg ratio.

Once the burger is crumbling well enough, toss in some garlic powder and cumin & stir. I go pretty light on both, maybe only one shake of the cumin because  too much smells like dirty socks to me. When the burger is mostly done, push it to the sides and toss the veggies in the middle to saute. If you’re squeamish about fat, you might want to drain the pan a bit first, but I am not and it saves me a step.

Once the veggies have softened up nicely, add in the frozen cauliflower rice. This stuff thaws and gets tender pretty quickly, so just mixing it into everything else will do the trick.  You can turn the pan off or on low.

Finally, add in the salsa and stir to mix. This is one of those “just eyeball it and taste test” things. I couldn’t really tell you how much I use. I nibble a bite and add more if it tastes bland.

I think this takes about 30 minutes to accomplish. I always forget to time it, but I know it doesn’t take too long or I’d be annoyed and avoid making it. Makes 2-3 servings, depending on how hungry you are when you cook it. It reheats nicely, something I think cauliflower rice dishes might do better than their “real” rice counterparts.

completed Mexican beef dish

BJJ: My Time to (Shark) Tank

In September 2017, I tested for my 1st stripe on my white belt. In some ways, the real test was stepping on to the mat and saying I was ready.

On January 11th, 2020, I tested for my 4th stripe. For those that don’t know, it’s the final stripe for white belt which makes me eligible for blue belt promotion. And while I drilled probably hundreds of hours with my training partner, John, and ramped up my rolling, the hardest part was simply telling myself it was time to say yes.

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SoML: Maybe

The past year was been… rough. All over, but particularly at work. I started traveling at the beginning of March 2018 and didn’t stop until March 15, 2019. To say I was burnt out was an understatement. I had traveled at least part of nearly every week. I was gone so much in September 2018 that I asked Aaron to keep Delta for the entire month. By the time it was over, I was bone weary. I wanted my own house. My own bed. My normal life.

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BJJ: There is No ‘Sorry’ in Jiu Jitsu

OK, so technically there can be sorry in Jiu Jitsu. Just not nearly as often as it gets said. Did you inflict major damage? Say sorry. Did you have a moment and act like a complete dick? Say sorry. But minor bumps and innocent mistakes? STFU and keep training.

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Review: Le Tote Dress for Success

Nearly 2 years ago (wow) I started subscribing to the clothing rental service, Le Tote. I wrote my initial review a few totes in and I was still iffy on the service. The results were mixed but I’d had some fun and even stepped out of my comfort zone to try a dress. Or maybe I should say I stepped into my comfort zone.

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SoML: Song Meanings Unplugged

One night on the way home from dancing, I was talking with Kaetlyn about how we relate to music. Or rather how I relate to music. Kaetlyn loves dancing and has eclectic taste, but she doesn’t make the connections to songs that I do.

Connecting Through Music

I connect to music but I also connect through music. Songs can bring me to a moment or remind me of a person. “Me and Bobby McGee” makes me think of Jen, one of my best friends from childhood. “Smooth” by Santana w/Rob Thomas makes me think of my mom rocking out in the Plymouth Voyager any old time, but “6 Underground” by Sneaker Pimps reminds me of a specific stretch of tree-lined highway we traveled between college visits. Continue reading SoML: Song Meanings Unplugged

BJJ: I Have the Touch

No one get excited, I am not saying I’ve got some sort of magic touch in BJJ. I’m not even good at BJJ, much less magical.

What’s on my mind lately is “positive touch” and how BJJ provides that contact we social creatures crave so much. And how much that’s helped me personally in the last year or so. I found myself telling my “touch-starved” story twice recently and it dawned on me just how much BJJ had helped me.

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The Academy Women's Team

BJJ: Embrace the Opponent (Empower Women Tournament)

At the end of January, I heard that Team Lawton was hosting the Empower Women Tournament on March 25th – women only, submission only, white and blue belts only. The format was round robin with 3 weight divisions. Each weight division would break out into separate white and blue belt brackets if entries allowed.

I should have known I was in trouble right away. Any other time people had talked about tournaments, I’d nope’d on out of the conversation immediately. No thanks, all set, hell no.

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Gritty in Pink

BJJ: Gritty in Pink

We’ve all heard of the law of unintended consequences. You do something to get result A, result B comes along for the ride. I spent a few weeks doing “focused freewriting” and suddenly noticed that my Sudoku skills had made a major leap forward. I might not have made the connection except that the writing guide I was using mentioned that surprising gains in other areas was a common phenomenon. Recently I’ve realized that my training in BJJ has had a rather interesting, if incongruous, unintended consequence: I’ve started to explore being girly.

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SoML: Addicted (BJJ Edition)

Recently I’ve talked to a few people at the gym and how often I train has come up. I don’t know if it’s my history of rowing crew in college (one day off a week, two days a week w/lifting in addition to practice) or just general obliviousness that it never occurred to me until now that I train A LOT.

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