taco bake bonanza

I don’t know what made me think of this meal.  I’m sure there are versions like it out there, but I just went with my gut and made this one up!  My initial thought was “taco lasagna!”  It is pretty hard to mess up baked layer dishes and they are always totally open for additions/subtractions.


I went on a nice 4+ mile trail run today.  The first 2 miles are a steady incline the entire way.  It’s nice to have the mountains to look at while running!  Hitting the 1/2 way point is always SO nice – quick stretch – and a nice downhill run back home.  I’m not sure what my pace is because I’m not sure of the exact distance.  I would say on the way up I’m at a 10+min/mile and the way down 9.5min/mile…maybe a little better?  I wonder if running in Cleveland, when I’m home next week, will be be a little easier now?

Chris and I went to the climbing gym today too.  I was not feeling the climbing as much as normal but we did some bouldering [short climbs with no rope] which I enjoyed much more.

I’m wiped out from all the activities today!! But in a good way.

On to dinner…

cajun spice mix, sitting in my new spoons!! =)


Layered Taco Craziness: serves 6-8 hungry adults

  • 1 – 1.5lbs ground beef [I used a mix of 95% and 85% lean grass fed]

  • 1 sm. yellow onion

  • 1 green pepper

  • 2T olive oil

  • 1 rounded tsp. ground cumin

  • 1 rounded tsp. garlic powder

  • 1 rounded tsp. cajun spice blend

  • 1/2tsp. salt

  • 1/2tsp. cayenne pepper

  • fresh ground black pepper

  • 2 avocados

  • 1 can green chilies

  • 1 can black beans, drained

  • 1c. frozen corn

  • 1 jar salsa [steer away from really runny salsa]

  • appx. 8oz fresh grated cheese [I mixed sharp cheddar and monterey jack]

  • 1 bag of your favorite tortilla chips [I used a mix of red corn + Food Should Taste Good Jalapeno]

  1. Chop onion + green pepper.

  2. Cut, scoop, + mash avocado until smooth.

  3. Heat 2T oil in large skillet on medium heat.  Add meat/onion/peppers.

  4. Add all seasonings and mix well.

  5. Pre-heat oven to 350* and get out a 9x13 deep dish pan.

  6. Cook meat until completely browned, take off heat and drain grease.

  7. Put a layer of smashed chips in the bottom of the pan just to cover.

  8. From there add 1/2 of the black beans and 1/2 of the salsa, evenly spread.

  9. Add 1/2 of the beef mixture and 1/2c. of the corn.

  10. With a spatula spread all of the avocado evenly and then add the whole can of green chilies.

  11. Repeat steps 7-9.  [in the middle layer I used the jalapeno chips for a little kick!]

  12. Cover with foil and bake 30min.

  13. Take out of the oven and turn to broil. Top with a light layer of crumbled chips and the grated cheese on top.

  14. Take out when cheese is bubbly and melted, appx. 3-5min.

Of all the meals I’ve made in the past few weeks, this was in the top 3, for sure.  Let me know if you try it out!  You can adjust the seasonings however you want.  I would say this had a medium heat level.  You can also use chicken instead of ground beef or take out the meat and add more veggies.  It’s very open for playing! =)



FSTG yummmy Jalapeno chips


The crunchy chip + cheese topping was realllly yummy…I always love a little crunch in my meals ;)


One of my new plates!  I took a little too much…Chris had no problem helping me finish it =)


Okay…now time for YOU to help ME!

I am trying to figure out what to do with this blog.  It first started as a way to blog about my journey with my granola bar business.  Since that is on hold for the time being, and I have no job, I thought I’d give the food blogging a try.  I have always loved to take photos of my food + have always loved to cook.  Now I have more time to play with Chris’s camera and work on the photography side of things.  Most newcomers are probably confused as to what “ota.bars” even is.

I’m wondering if I should start a new blog and leave the ota.bars blog behind for now?  [until I can do something w/the business again]

What kind of content do you like the most?

  1. food + food photos only

  2. #1 with general life stuff

  3. more in depth details on calorie consumption, my workouts, food cost, food reviews, etc.

And for the photos…

  1. food photos only

  2. food + people + places

I am getting sick of my blog template too.  It just isn’t working for me now.  It was fine for ota.bars but now that I’m posting more I need more organization.

I feel like I started things a little backwards and didn’t give you much basic info into my life and what I’m trying to do here.  Would you like a few posts like this: “about me” “my pantry staples” “ingredients I despise” “general health + fitness” etc.

I would love to bring something new and different to the table.  Let me know your thoughts!

Time to brainstorm!! Comments pleeease =)