So yeah, I’m officially on “Christmas vacation” until January 3rd. I feel like my life has been strictly work, eat, sleep, repeat since this summer, and I am more than ready for in desperate need of a vacation.

My brother will be in town tomorrow, so we’ll have mega family time this weekend, then Ben and I are off to DC for 8 days (8 days!) to spend the week between Christmas and New Years with his family. What a lovely time it shall be! Hope we get to see the capital all lit up for the holidays. :)

In the spirit of taking it totally easy for the next two weeks, I had dinner thoughtfully preparing itself while I worked like a mad women trying to get everything wrapped up at work today – Mexican Braised Beef!


It’s been a red hot minute since I last busted out my crock pot, as lately I haven’t been able to find many recipes that don’t call for wild or tons of canned ingredients. Mexican Braised Beef looked pretty legit though, and I had high hopes for it.


Trimmed chuck roast is quickly seared then nestled in a savory liquid blanket of tomatoes, onions, garlic and red wine, before cooking low and slow for 7 hours.


Ok…this dish was bomb, but it did require some prep work. Having to cook, sear or simmer something before you even put it into the pot are usually deal breakers (next please!) but for some reason this recipe for Mexican Braised Beef from The Kitchn called to me. So I answered.


It all started with a chili. An Anaheim Chili. The original recipe called for Poblanos, but I couldn’t find any at the store, so I picked up this baby which looked similar.


The first step involves charring the skin off the chili. I did it the same way I charred the skin off the jalapenos that went into my Roasted Jalapeno Grilled Cheese.


Simply lay the chili underneath the broiler (or on top of the range if you have a gas stove) until the skin starts to char.


When one side is black, flip and let the other side char too.


Wrap the chili in foil and let it steam for a few minutes. This will cause the skin to separate from the pepper flesh.


After a few minutes, gently cut the pepper open, remove the stem and seeds, then peel off the skin. It’s really no trouble at all.

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Next turn your attention to the beef. Cut a chuck roast into big chunks so you can trim away as much fat as possible.

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Quickly sear the meat in a hot pan, then remove to a plate.

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Saute an onion in the remaining oil,

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then add in chopped garlic and the roasted pepper.

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Next add in red wine and diced tomatoes, and simmah dat sawce for a few minutes.

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Add it into the crock pot and nestle the beef inside.

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So, ok, a little bit of work ahead of time, but nothing earth shattering.

After 7 hours in the crock pot, the tender beef nearly shredded itself. MMMM!


The recipe said to place the shredded beef back into the cooking liquid, but that’s where all the nasty fat hangs out, so I put the shredded beef into a new bowl and spooned some of the tomatoes, onion, and a scoop or two of the liquid on top.


ONE MORE STEP! The rice.


Party foul.


The beef was actually supposed to be served on flour tortilla shells as tacos, but someone had 5 fish tacos and used them all up. No problem. I made Chipotle Rice to serve it on instead!


Mmmm, that cilantro-studded, lime & salt flavored rice NAILED it, while the green onions and salsa dolloped on top brought it home.


If I made this again, I’d probably add a disgusting amount of whole garlic cloves into the crock pot to cook with the beef, but other than that – it was great! Here’s the recipe, which I halved since it was just Ben and me.


Dessert shall be a Blengo. I am this excited for it, as the mango I had ripening on my counter all week was one of the juiciest I’ve seen in a while!


Simply peel and cut the mango flesh from the pit and process in a food processor or blender.

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The result is a velvety thick puree. IT IS SO GOOD!!!!!


20 Day Holiday Workout Challenge

Can you believe it’s the eve of the final day of the 20 Day Holiday Workout Challenge? I am floored!

These past 19 days have actually been awesome. I feel great, I really do. At times I felt pressured and rushed to get through my workout and get home, as blogging does take a bit of time each night, but for the most part working out was something I actually looked forward to doing everyday, which I never thought would be the case.

I do wish I could get into a morning exercise routine, as it would make my life 1,000,000x easier, but my preferred method of working out is running and I just feel like no matter how awake I feel, my legs don’t seem to cooperate with the rest of my body until at least noon. It’s the strangest thing.

At any rate, after this is all over, I hope to keep aiming for working out 4-5 day a week. Once I get down to 3x a week, it just makes it easier to go down to 2, etc. Keeping things consistent throughout the week really works for me!

Fellow challengers: how has the last 20 days been for you? What were your challenges? Successes?

No matter how many days you logged, kudos to you for trying and staying active. :D

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a blengo to enjoy. :) Have a great night!


What’s your go-to sweet treat at the end of the day?