Eat Clean Friday #3: Green Goddess Kale Burrito {And A New Web Address}

Hello lovelies!  Welcome to Eat Clean Friday!  Before we go on with the linkup, I want to let you know that this site now has a new URL, so make sure you update your bookmarks or whatever methods you use to follow this blog.  The new URL is:

The other URL was throwing people off, so I went ahead and made it easy! :-)  Now on to the link!  If this is your first time, Eat Clean Friday is the link-up where we share our favorite clean eating recipes and get to meet other health conscious bloggers.  This week I am sharing one of my favorite eat clean recipes: Green Goddess Kale Burrito.  This baby is packed with tons of nutrients and it is perfect for those pesky vegetarians/ vegans ;-)  I am a big carnivore and I love this dish.   Like my previous recipes, you will notice this passes my "single girl's feeding requirements:  I have plenty of leftovers.

The difference between this and your typical burrito is that it is meatless (listen up Meatless Monday fanatics)  and because of that it is light when you eat it although it is VERY filling.  And did I mention it is packed with plenty of nutrients and good for you vitamins?  Plus it is very tasty; it has tons of flavors and just a little heat.  Here is the easy recipe:

Green Goddess Kale Burrito
Author: Maria

(serves 3-4)


  • 4 large or whole wheat flour tortillas
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp. chipotle chili powder (a southwestern blend would go nicely as well)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 pound of kale, washed and roughly chopped (chard would go nicely with this too)
  • 1 can black beans, washed and drained, liquid reserved
  • 1 Avocado, sliced
  • 1 chopped tomato
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  
  • Add onion and garlic and cook until soft (about 5 minutes). 
  • Add chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper.  
  • Add the kale and cook, stirring occasionally, until leaves wilt and release their liquid, about 5 minutes.  
  • Stir in beans, adding a spoonful of the reserved liquid if the mixture seems dry.
  • Place 1/4 of mixture onto a warm tortilla.  Top with avocado and tomatoes, then serve.

Sounds really good, doesn't it?  It actually tastes pretty amazing.  My dad who was a crazy carnivore even loved this burrito.  Give it a try if you get a chance.  You won't be disappointed. 

Want to join us for Eat Clean Friday?  Click on the linkup photo for more details!

Also sharing with these awesome linkups!   Tuned-In Tuesday.  Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Blog Hop.  Fitness Friday. The Fitness Friday LinkupStrange But GoodRecipe Friday. Foodie Friday.  Food-tastic Friday.  Friday FavoritesFoodie FridayWeekend PotluckAloha Friday Blog HopFull Plate ThursdayFantastic Friday

Fitness Thursdays in The Prairie

Wow! Winter... in the prairie... it is bloody cold and windy.  But thank goodness there is no snow right now although the forecast says we will have some on the weekend.  I am ready for summer.  The island girl inside me is roaring to come out.  I love working out outdoor and this cold is killing me.  I have had to workout at the gym and this week has been pretty awesome fitness wise.  So what is going on in fitness land?

// ONE //


On Monday I start the T25 workout.  I have heard nothing but great things and all the results I have seen are pretty amazing.  Plus seriously what is better than working out with Shaun T.?  :D I am also finally giving the Shakeology shakes a try.  My friend Mandy is a Beachbody coach and she plus her clients have had great results with this.   I am one of those people that has a hard time eating 5-6 meals a day, and shakes work great for me!

// TWO //

Clothing motivation.  I am not sure about you but one way I motivate myself is by wearing new clothes to the gym.  Seriously, works out for me.  So, for my birthday I treated myself to some nice Under Armour clothes for the gym.  I have plenty to run outdoors but have been looking kind of rough at the gym :) 


// THREE //

I've been hitting the gym this week pretty hard and my body is sore but not very painful.  It is my weakness leaving the body! lol.  My knee is still bothering me a little so I have been focusing this week mostly on the elliptical and it has given the knee the rest it needs while also getting a good cardio workout. Yeah, sorry about this pic {I do not take cute gym photos... ugh}.


By the way, when I got home from the gym on Monday I had flowers for my birthday!  Woohoo!

For strength training I have been doing the Muscle & Fitness Hers Transformation Workout Plan and I really like it because in includes days of plyometrics and also stretching.  Plus it keeps it varied.

// FOUR //
Finally registered for my first 5K race this year.  I am doing the Mrs. Robinson Romp, 5K Cougar Run.  Seriously I am doing it for the sticker.  You see D is always calling me his "cougar" because I am a year older than he is, and when I saw this race I just had to sign up.  Love fun races and the fact that this one is a trail run makes it even more fun!

And there you have it!  My fitness weekend in a nutshell.  
Thanks to Amanda for hosting the Thinking Out Loud link up!

Why I Love Julia Mancuso... Now, Can We Stop Calling Her An "Underdog"?

Who else is looking forward to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics?  Here is a little known fact about me:  while I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, I LOVE winter.  And while I personally hate skiing, I LOVE watching skiing competitions.  Which is why I love the Winter Olympics.   There are many athletes as there are sports to watch in Sochi, but the one I am looking forward to is alpine skier Julia Mancuso.


Who can forget Julia awesome performance at the Vancouver Games in 2010?  Especially that cute moment when she wore the tiara during the medal presentation? Funny how she got her first tiara from her coach in 2006 because it seems she is very opinionated.  So her dubbed her "the princess".  Little did he know how much tv time that tiara would have and how it came to be Julia's signature "thing".  She even painted a tiara on her ski helmet, so she'd keep the look on.  Love it!

Now, you are probably wondering why I am such a huge fan of Julia.  You see she is an interesting phenom because for some odd reason she has always been under the shadow of alpine skier Linday Vonn, the reigning Olympic and World Cup downhill skiing champ.  Never mind that Mancuso has won more Olympic medals than any other U.S. female skier and has also won five world championship medals (as many as Vonn).  So you can imagine why I always get peeved when people refer to Mancuso as "the underdog" or Linsay Vonn's "stand-in". WTF!  Seriously, I see no evidence of an underdog here.  This is an athlete that has proven herself many times and has the metal to prove it.

I also find it fascinating that while Mancuso spends most of the year traveling the world as a pro skier, in the summer when she's not working she lives and trains somewhere you'd never expect to find her — Hawaii.

Julia Mancuso - HEALTH Magazine - January/February 2014 Issue
Now that Vonn is out of the Olympics, everyone is focusing on Mancuso as her "stand-in".  Ugh... so annoying.  So she is not the glam girl Lindsey Vonn is... who cares?  Yes, Vonn is a great athlete but so is Mancuson; she is a bonafide champion and I am really looking forward to her rocking Sochi.  But you know the best thing about Mancuso?  She is really humble in her talent and also praises Lindsay Vonn's amazing talents as an athlete.  To her it seems it is all about enjoying the ride and as she puts it  "I want to help inspire and I think the other American girls can do really well.  We just need to be supportive."  Amen to that!

On Aquarius Birthdays & Living The Good Life {Happy Birthday To Me!}

I could go really deep and serious with this post about what constitutes "the good life" but I am not.  Instead I am going to focus one very important aspect of the good life: LAUGHTER.  Life its too complicated and too serious as it is so whenever you have a chance to laugh do so with gusto.  It is not only good for you but it makes you glow.   On Monday I am celebrating my 41st birthday and my attitude it is completely different than last year when I almost had a crisis on that day!  The lessons of this past year have shown me how life can be fleeting, therefore we should make the most of it and live every day as if it was our last.  So instead of being angry at the world, go ahead!  Give yourself permission to smile and laugh!  You are welcome!  

As for me, I am embracing my weird Aquarius personality and making the most of it.   Growing up I was pretty sheltered and never really understood how to let my inner goddess embrace her aquarius traits and use them to get to know herself better.  It has taken me this long and a good friend to finally say "you know what?  It is time to let my inner goddess fly her freedom flag!".  Aquarius women can be "different", I am the first to admit it.  Do you know any Aquarius?  Let me tell you, we are probably the most stubborn zodiac sign ever.  Here are some other facts about Aquarius women {some a bit more TMI-- as in too much information-- than

Birthdays can be a source or happiness or grumpiness.  Me?  I am choosing happiness.  This is happening on Monday people and this is my birthday weekend!  


Eat Clean Friday #2: Achiote-Chipotle Sweet Potato "Paad Thai"

Hello my friends!  Welcome to Eat Clean Friday! Yes I am posting this a day early because tomorrow it is going to be insane! Eat Clean Friday is the link-up where we share all of our favorite clean eating recipes with you.  And this week's recipe is a favorite not only because of it's simplicity but also because it has an ingredient that I grew up with and it is very near and dear to my heart: ACHIOTE.  Yes it may not look fancy, but let me tell you this dish is not only "clean" but it also packs a lot in the flavor department.  And more importantly it passes this "single girl's food rules":
  • I can make ahead of time
  • It is healthy
  • It is easy to make
  • I can make in bulk so I have leftovers (yes, leftovers are a single girl's best friend!)
If you are Hispanic or a foodie extraordinaire, you know what achiote, or annatto, is.  If you are not familiar with it then let me introduce you to this ingredient.  Achiote, itself is a byproduct of the seeds from the Bixa Orellana tree.  Normally you find it in ground powder form which you then steep in either oil or lard.  I remember my grandma Ina making achiote oil on the weekends to use during the week because it holds good and does not become rancid.  This is one of my favorite grandma images.  Now, this single girl takes the easy way out, and I use the achiote that already comes in packets (made by Goya) that you do not have to step in oil.  It is mostly use for coloring but also for taste.  The best way to describe the taste of achiote is sort of smoky but floral at the same time.  Almost the same floral taste qualities of saffron but slightly bitter.  However, it adds a beautiful depth of smokiness when combined with the chipotle I use in this recipe.  This combination of achiote and chipotle is one of those fortunate kitchen accidents that just happened to work.  My favorite kind of accidents.  And doesn't this looks like something anyone can make?


But before I go into the recipe, I have to tell you that the trick on this dish is cutting the sweet potato using a spiralizer.  Oh my goodness, I love this contraption!  I used one during a cooking class this past summer and love it!  Not sure why I waited so long but this past week I bought one and have been spiralizing the heck out of every veggie I find {do not be surprised if you see more spiralized recipes in the future}.  Why am I mentioning this?  Simple.  People have the misconception that eating clean is boring but the trick is not only making fun but also tasty.  So gadgets and spices are your friend.  Now let's move on to the recipe.

Achiote-Chipotle Sweet Potato "Paad Thai" (by Maria-- The Good Life)

  • Two sweet potatoes
  • 1-2 tbsp. chipotle chili powder
  • 1 packet achiote powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp. olive oil (you can use coconut oil but I like the flavor of EVOO on this recipe)
** Additional Equipment: spiralizer (or julienne vegetable peeler), parchment paper, baking sheet

  • Preheat over to 400 degrees
  • Using the smallest blade attachment on your spiralizer, curl two sweet potatoes (skins on) and place on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
  • Drizzle potato curls with olive oil and then sprinkle with chili powder, achiote and taste.  Toss the potatoes to cover evenly (WARNING: achiote will stain your hands for a little bit so remember that).
  • Bake in the over for 15-20 minutes (keep an eye on the potatoes because ovens vary in temperatures. 
What we are looking for here is the consistency of paad thai.  I used the smallest blade on my spiralizer which allows me to get that noodle-like shape.  This is a delicious dish that it is easy to prepare and so much fun!  I actually like to use chopsticks to eat it.  The flavors are pretty amazing: smoky and with a little heat from the achiote and the chipotle, but also the sweetness of the potatoes.  Simple delicious!  I hope you give this a try because it is a dish worth adding to your weekly menus repertoire.

Also sharing with these wonderful linkups:

Tuned-In Tuesday. . Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Blog Hop.  Fitness Friday. The Fitness Friday LinkupStrange But GoodRecipe Friday. Foodie FridayI'm Lovin' ItFood-tastic FridayFusion FridaysFriday FavoritesFoodie FridayWeekend PotluckAloha Friday Blog HopFull Plate ThursdayTasty ThursdayTaste-tastic Thursday

Eat Clean Friday #1: Zucchini Spaguetti & Lamb Meatballs

Eat Clean

Wow!  Talk about technical malfunctions.  Today I just could not upload any photos but finally I did!  Hello dearies!  Welcome to the first Eat Clean Friday!  This is a link-up where we share out favorite clean eating recipes.  It is all about sharing and getting to know other health conscious aficionados.  If you want to learn more about eating clean, check out my post HERE and then come and join me!

Today, I am sharing one of my all time favorite clean dishes: Zucchini spaghetti with lamb meatballs.  I am not a vegetarian and but I do not eat meat all the time.  But when I do, I usually go for lamb.  I love it.  And in this dish, it really works because the zucchini noodles can be pretty bland and they need something stronger in flavor to counteract that blandness. 

From Rustic Feast: A Paleo Journey, Zucchini Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs in Homemade Tomato Sauce.

Like most of my dishes, this is not so much a recipe as it is a method of cooking zucchini.  I use a veggie peeler that creates the zucchini strings but a veggie spiraler would work fabulously here too!  I steam the strings of zucchini until they are cooked but still have a mild crunch (about 4-5 mins.).

For the meatballs, I combine ground lamb (beef works good too) with 1 egg + desired seasonings.  The key here is cooking the meatballs first in a sautee pan with some coconut oil to seal the juices, then I finish them by cooking them in stewed tomatoes (I use canned organic stewed tomatoes) and voila!  It is an easy and super healthy dish that can be made in advanced and even better: in large quantities for the rest of the week!  Give it a try sometime because you will not regret it!  Happy eatings!

Motivation Monday: We Runners Are... Special

 We all have that one special thing that makes us happy.  Our happy place.  I was talking with my friends this weekend, most of who are runners-- one who is a hardcore ultrarunner.  And we all had the same thing to say: running is our happy place.  

The funniest point in our conversation came when discussing how others sometimes do not understand why we love running.  I heard some of the greatest and funniest stories but then we all agreed on something: as runners, we are all a weird bunch of  Yes, it is painful and it hurts sometimes but boy the feeling I get when I finish a run cannot compare to anything else in life.  It just makes me happy.  And I am not the only one.  So we love it!

Our motto is "Have running shoes, will run".  We do not need equipment or a gym.  All we need is a will and desire to run, and if we have a great route scenery then it is a bonus!  We are there. 

I do not know about you, but when I visit a place the first thing I do is scout the place for a running route.  There is something special about discovering a place through the eyes of a runner.  I notice things I normally would be too busy to notice.  My boyfriend gets a kick out of this.  He does not understand why I want to go for a run when we travel somewhere.  And my answer is simple: The World Is My Treadmill.  I Have to Run It! 
What can I say?  We are special.  Yes, we are!
Sharing with MIMM

eat clean fridays: come and join the fun!

 Eat Clean
Were you, like me, a bit indulgent over the holidays?  Do you feel like your metabolism needs an overhaul?  Then come and join me for Eat Clean Friday.

Eat Clean Friday is a new nutrition oriented link-up dedicated to nothing but delicious and healthy recipes.  It is a new year and we all want to rev up our diets.  When I re-started started my fitness journey  in 2012 after battling hypothyroidism related weight gain, I was amazed at how much progress I made once I changed the focus of how I ate.  Notice I am not saying "when I started dieting".  And that is because CLEAN EATING is a lifestyle change not a fad.  I am not ashamed to admit that this past year I kind of fell off the wagon and I noticed the difference almost immediately.  If you read my post about my 2014 goals, you know cleaning my diet is one of them.  This is why I am starting EAT CLEAN FRIDAYS, not only as accountability but also as a way of sharing among ourselves the clean recipes that have worked for us.  Plus you get to meet some great people in the process.

If you read this blog, you probably already know what CLEAN EATING is.  But just in case you are new, here my probably over simplistic definition: it is eating food as close as possible to their natural state {no I do not mean eat raw meat}.  Just minimally processed food that nourishes the body.  When it comes to the "tenets" of eating clean they are not rocket science {even if some want to make it sound like it is}:

  • No. 1  Eat 5-6 meals a day (this includes two snacks) througout your day ensuring you include a lean protein, complex carbohydrate, veggies and fruits.
  • No. 2  Drink water!  It is good for you and it is vital to proper body functions
  • No 3   Read labels: if you cannot pronounce the name of an ingredient, it is probably not clean.  Further more, if the list of ingredients is longer that the Bill of Rights... you guessed it: not clean.
  • No. 4   Stay away from processed foods.  White flour, bread, sugars and pasta are a no-no.  I personally believe in moderation and once in a while I do not see why not.  Also favor complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes and whole grains.
  • No. 5   Consume healthy fats.  Saturated fats: BIG NO!  Essential fatty acids: BIG YES!
 Still confused? Here is a handy dandy cheat sheet that I think it is very helpful from the Rebel Dietitian.  I have it attached to my refrigerator :)
Eat clean grocery list
The link-up will kick off on Friday 17 JANUARY and will go up on Friday mornings.  I do not have any rules but I do ask that 1) the recipe is really is "clean" and that 2) you link back to this blog.   So, what do you say?  Are you going to join me? I hope you do!  Have a fantastic weekend!

Eat Clean: Roasted Herbed Radishes + Baked Chicken

I do not know about you, but after the holidays I find myself feeling heavy and just full.  Automatically the body goes into what I call "cleansing mode" and I start craving lighter fares.  Over the years I have come to rely on tried and delicious recipes that are also healthy and this one for Roasted Radishes and Baked Chicken is one of my favorites.  It is a healthy and clean meal at its best. 

Radishes have never been my favorite... AT ALL.  There is something about eating them raw that scarred me for life so when a friend convinced me to try them cooked, I was a bit skeptical.   I have tried radishes every possible way and the winner has always been ROASTED.  If you have tried radishes, you know they can be bitter but roasting mellows that flavor a lot and the radishes takes on a texture and flavor akin to a potato or parsnip.  In my experimentations, I have found that they go well with roasted onions which adds an earthy sweetness to the dish. This is great to have as a side dish (or main course if vegetarian)  and I especially like to pair these veggies with baked chicken to keep it light. 

Now for the recipe: Ummm... there is no recipe really.  This is more of a method of preparing them.  I simply cut the radishes in half, the onions in quarters, and toss them in a mixture of:
Then I roast them for 15-20 minutes in a 425 degree oven.  And voila!  It really does not get any more simple than this.  Still not sure about radishes?  Check out all the good stuff about them.  This little veggie carries a ton of health benefits: 
  • Naturally cooling
  • Aids with digestion
  • Prevents viral infections (thank you Vitamin C!)
  • Protects against cancer
  • Helps with digestions
  • Low calories/high nutrients
  • Keeps you hydrated

Give them a try!  I promise you, you will not regret it.  This is a win/win situation and in the process you will get a beautifully looking dish. I am sharing this with Sprint to the Table's Strange but Good because many people would not consider roasting radishes and they taste so good!

Do You Run Like A Girl? Then Join The Challenge!

Anyone that knows me good can tell you one thing about me: I LOVE A CHALLENGE.  So when I found out from Cindy at Kicking It In about a friend blogger of hers, Dara at The Cookin' Canuck drawing a proverbial line in the sand with a running challenge, I was in!  With the new year come new goals and motivation is always needed in this household especially with these arctic temperatures we have been having.   And when this Puerto Rican girl experiences frigid Midwest temperatures "Gee, I have way too much motivation" is not something you will hear me say.


After I visited Dara's website I definitely knew I have to take part on this.  Not only does Dara sounds like a beautiful person with a heart of gold (yes you can tell by her words that she is a gentle soul) but the motivation she has to push herself is simply contagious.  For more details about this challenge click HERE.

What do you think?  

{ Follow this challenge via Twitter and Instagram using hashtag #runwithdara }

2014: To An Amazing Year!

Can you believe that the Christmas season its over and the new year is here?  That went by in a flash.  I had so much fun and my fiance {I don't get tired of saying that!} and his family made sure that what could have been a sad season for me was instead a lovely one.  We all had fun including the mutts and the only complaint I have is that it was short.

Happy New Year! I Got Engaged!

Hello everyone!  Happy New Year!  I hope the beginning of your year was fantastic.  Mine was really good and here are the top 5 reasons:

{ ONE }

We are engaged!  My boyfriend David asked me to marry him on New Year's Eve  and I have been in could nine since then.  Here is a good look at the ring.  I love it!  Princess cut is my favorite because it is such a delicate cut.  Now we are trying to decide on a wedding date.