Written for The River Current Publication
Top Of The Hill Taco Salad
Spring is in the air…finally! Last night I couldn’t wait to get home from work and get myself out into the long awaited sunshine and fresh air. I threw on some comfy shoes and headed out for a walk. Immediately, I knew where I was headed. There is a hill near my home that offers a rather intimidating incline, aka an excellent aerobic opportunity! This being my first outing of the year, I was huffing and puffing by the time I got to the top of the hill.
At the top of the hill there is a beautiful cemetery that overlooks the valley. The views are breathtaking…any time of the year. It is my reward for conquering the hill. In the months after my husband’s passing, I took many walks up that hill. Sometimes even twice a day. I felt at peace when I was there. I have often stopped to take pictures in an effort to capture the beauty. Somehow the pictures never quite express the solitude or beauty that I find there.
One thing you should know...the aerobic challenge doesn’t stop at the top of the hill. The path that weaves and meanders through the cemetery is pretty wicked too. I remember a friend scolding me after she had joined me for an evening hike up my favorite hill. She said she could hardly get out of bed the next morning and was still feeling “the burn” a couple days after. All I could say was, “Awesome, then it must have been a good thing”. She has not joined me many times since, to tackle my hill. lol
Walking is a great way to get out and get moving…and after this long, long winter, it is time to start moving my friends. Walking not only provides a low impact way to lose weight and stay in shape; it also helps to boost your mood and energy levels and even reduces stress. For me, it is a grand time for contemplation and serenity.
Walking is a great no-fuss, low budget way to exercise (all you need are comfortable walking shoes!) and a moderately intense pace…100 steps per minute. At this pace you are in the zone to burn some calories. If you are in the mood for a walking challenge, invest in a good pedometer so you will know exactly how many steps you take each day.
Walking at a 20-minute-mile pace burns about 103 calories every hour, which is not too shabby. If you pick up your pace, you can burn even a few more calories an hour…a 15-minute-mile pace will burn about 118 calories. Add a few more movements to your walk, and you've got a full blown cardio routine going on.
Get out there and tackle that giant hill…and when you get to the top, take a moment to admire the splendor that surrounds you. And then keep on moving!
Before I headed up the hill, I prepared meat for a taco salad. I thought the flavors could simmer and get all happy while I was out tackling The Incline. I don’t think you all need a recipe for a taco salad (we all have our own versions, don’t we), but I am sharing a recipe for the taco meat…sans the sodium and other unmentionables found in those taco seasoning packets we purchase.
Top Of The Hill Taco Salad
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup diced onion
1 10-ounce can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile or 1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
*Use fresh organic ingredients, whenever possible
To prepare the taco meat:
1. Place beef and onion in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook until the meat is cooked through and the onions are tender. Approx. 10-15 minutes.
2. Drain off the fat. Add tomatoes, cumin, ground chipotle (or chili powder) and oregano. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated.
3. Now reduce the heat to a very low simmer and head out for your walk.