Friday Food : ROJ Fiesta Bowl

While at McCormick we were presented with a little challenge…show the world how you spice up your favorite dishes. Spice up your dishes doesn’t have to mean “hot” spices either folks! According to their website you can spice up oatmeal with cinnamon, eggs with black pepper, mashed potatoes with garlic powder or grilled cheese with oregano and BAM you have a dose of antioxidants. In fact if you are intrigued by the idea of using spices for additional antioxidant power, they have set up a 30 day challenge complete with tips and a guided calendar.

I spent the rest of the weekend and past week plotting and searching and agonizing over what I could create or revamp to WOW the world with my brilliant spice incorporating skills.

Finally on my way home from physical therapy, where I almost fell asleep while in the stretching rack, and wondering how I was supposed to invent a famous recipe, clean my house and shave my legs all without letting on to my level of exhaustion, it hit me…the point of the Spices for Health campaign and #GenFresh isn’t to reinvent the wheel. The purpose of the campaign is to show people how home cooking can be fun and healthy…to share with each other how to use the skills and knowledge we already have, with slight and easy enhancements.

Enter my revamped recipe, the ROJ Fiesta Bowl aka I eat rice and beans more than any other food. People always laugh when they ask what I eat with all my food issues and I say “rice and beans”, or they think I’m trying to seek pity. Honestly, I LOVE rice and beans. At any given time I have 10+ cans of black and pinto beans in my cabinets and a huge container of brown rice. Add in whatever mix-ins I have in stock and TA-DA a delicious meal. How can I take my staple to the next level with McCormick? Well, check this out…

ROJ Fiesta Bowl

Mexican Rice and Beans

What you will need:


  1. Prepare rice as directed
  2. Rinse and drain beans, warm in sauce pan
  3. In a skillet, brown the ground beef and seasoning if you’re using it, otherwise combine peppers, tomatoes and seasoning and sauté
  4. In a bowl distribute your desired amount of rice, then each type of bean, a serving of the veggie mix and some ground beef. Top with spinach,yogurt (in place of sour cream) and cheese as desired.
  5. ENJOY

Comments & Photos:

Mexican rice and beansMexican rice and beansI think you can really see how beautiful and fun the layers of this dish are in the plastic container…yay taking food for lunch to work!

See how quick and easy my many many many night staple can be for lunch, dinner or any time? Use whatever veggies or meat you want, use as many or as few toppings as you want. Don’t forget to experiment with different spices. I found a packet of salsa mix which was apparently discontinued in 2010 or 2011 which makes me question my local grocer…however you can easily add to tomatoes and other veggies along with one of the newer packets of mixes for a more traditional “Mexican” appeal. Or use black pepper, red pepper, paprika, cumin, chili powder or anything else to find your own special bland.

Beans have a ton of protein, as does the spinach and yogurt. Veggies have carbs and so does the rice, which also is a whole grain for the meal. Lean beef ups the protein level again and spices just make it all that more beneficial for your health!

How do you take your favorite recipes to the next level with McCormick?

FitBloggin’ 2012 Recap

FitBloggin was an amazing experience. Part of me wants to spend the next week recapping every day in every way and still feel empty knowing I didn’t explain ENOUGH of what this past week/weekend was for me. However, I am not going to do a multipart recap. My reasoning is, if you were there it will spark a memory, if you weren’t there the extreme details can be a bit much. There are things I didn’t write about, it doesn’t mean I didn’t value the interaction or that I have forgotten, it simply means this is my recap, nothing more, nothing less.

So what went down on my trip?


I barely made it to the airport on time (what else is new) I flew Southwest and have to say it was a greatexperience. The flight crew was kind and helpful, they seemed relaxed and as if they actually enjoy what they do! The pilot made some comment about pushing a button for the reading light and then another one about not pushing the “other button” or we would eject our luggage. At 700AM it didn’t go over too funny with most, but I enjoyed it and knew this was going to be a great airline. I liked being able to pick my own seat too and on the way back? TWO checked bags for FREE, yeppers peppers you read that correctly. Convenience FTW.

Once in Baltimore Lyn and I rode away with her sister, I helped her set up TweetDeck and then it was off to the McCormick tour! HOLY GOODNESS was that an amazing event. I WILL be posting about it separately. It wasn’t a factory tour, but a tour of their culinary institute. We went around and watched cooking demos and did some various taste tests to learn how to uses spices for health and also how not everyone responds to spices the same way. The facility is beautiful and I never knew how much work goes into their products. My favorite thing to learn was how they have research labs all over the world. Since spices are viewed and used differently by location and culture, McCormick wants to explore and honor those differences. 10,000 bonus points, right?

After the tour it was time for the badge decorating party and some more meet and greet with other bloggers. While I knew people who I doubt had any idea who I was, there was no one who ran up to me and knew me. There’s always next year to be a celebrity, right? Or maybe I’m just realllllly good at connecting with my audience? Yea, let’s go with that idea. I went with an ice cream to represent my weekly froyo trips and course some “purple” grapes as my fashion stickers, the star was on anyone’s badge who was a first time attendee.


The night ended after a little walking around town with new and old friends including MissZippy (who I was way excited to meet) and my roomies Alicia, Laura and Carly, and a bite to eat. Of course it wasn’t all that simple because of my food allergies, but let’s not open that can of worms. One of the funniest moments of the day (for me) was when I called the front desk to ask if the sheets and pillows were down…the lady said “What do you MEAN are they dowwwwn” I laughed and said “Are they feather”? Yep, of course they were so I spent my nights cocooned in a cotton blanket to protect my overly delicate body.


My roomies woke early for exercise class, but since I’m on lock-down by the PT I slept in, which was lovely. No one understood how I did it. Apparently they weren’t at Oil Creek in 2010 when I slept through 2 waves of people getting ready, bullhorns and my alarm clock. I have mad sleeping skills yo.

I wondered around the expo, adopting a stuffed egg from Eggland’s Best which I have been stalking since I saw it on people’s blogs last year! Hung out with DetermiNation to share what my extraordinary was and made a video for Got CHOCOLATE milk and team REFUEL. Can’t wait to pimp voting for that one! Also snagged some cookbooks about lean beefand a new meat thermometer.


For the sessions I attended, I relearned some info on chocolate milk and how it can help refuel after a work out, based on carbs and protein, ignoring the sugar content…but really look at the sugars in other sports drinks too. Discovered pointers on turning a great blog post into a book or personal essay and body self-acceptance. The most helpful thing I learned were the temps to cook different types of meat, and that apparently not all % are created equal.  Although, I always thought if you cooked the meat where the grease went away it was all good, but according to the BEEF people that isn’t true. My friend who raises cattle is who told me the other fact initially, so who knows?

After lunch break there were a few more sessions where I learned about my “brand”, watched Carla aka MizFit speak and went in and out of other lectures. The night ended with the keynote presentation which was put on by IGNITE. The concept was great, there were 6-7 speakers and all had 5 minutes to present their topic. Each speaker was someone chosen from the attendees. Prior to the event we all voted on submissions, without knowing the “author” so votes were based on submission and not popularity. It was one of the better keynotes I’ve attended.


I totally and massively over slept again…which upset me because I missed Amanda’s session! Grrr. More milling about the expo and popping in and out of sessions. What did I learn or do? There was the yoga photo booth, the trampoline people JumpSport, the “EPIC” tee ladies who were with PuraVITwhich although I don’t do supplements they are starting a program like Klutchclub or BULU Box where you pay about $40 then receive 2 piece of fitness gear. Could be a bra, could be shirts, could be anything, but they’re from nice designer lines. I think I’m going to give it a try.

I did some liveblogging for the awesome Alicia and my computer crashed. Yep. Word is corrupt and I had forgotten this fact. I lost the WHOLE transcription with 10 minutes to spare. Luckily Alicia is a super cool chick and friend. She sent me her ppt so I could redo the project later. The other sessions were helpful too, especially with SEO and certain design aspects. OH and SOYJOYwas there and now have bars without dried coconut…a girl could have cried tears of joy!


Except I needed to concentrate on the major speaker of the day, our FitFluential leader Kelly Olexa who not only gave great advice, but made us laugh too.

Dinner was spent with some new(er) friends like Tamara, Christie O and Toni at a quaint Italian place. My food was essentially, as one lady’s child stated in the past, “A giant chicken nugget on a plate of spaghetti” $22 well spent. After dinner me barely made it to the dessert night and I tried my hardest to win a KitchenAid stand mixer, but Robbywas a much luckier chick than I. Hopefully I steal her luck by winning her giveaway since she already has a stand mixer and is paying it forward.


No over sleeping! Yippie. The only major event of the day was the 5K. Which I walked the whole thing!! Score! It was magical. I have to stop forgetting how special each day and each movement is and should not be ignored. After the 5K we were given ANOTHER shirt and had some breakfast and goodbyes. Goodbyes also included a table to leave things you didn’t want and pick up extras of things you DO want. Guess who was super lucky? This girl…because I snagged a yoga mat!

For most of the morning I hung around the hotel lobby retyping my session log for Alicia and playing around with TweetDeck. Flying home was a breeze, YES I MADE IT TO THE AIRPORT ON TIME. The only other exciting thing about Sunday? I was milling around with football players. Haha. People were outside the hotel and they looked official and BIG. I thought nothing of it and was daydreaming. Security kept checking on me and I didn’t understand why. Well Google helped me later when I was searching names and numbers on tags of the stuff they were carrying and I thought “That looks EXACTLY like the guy outside the hotel today”. Yep Baltimore Ravens and I didn’t even say anything. BAD BLOGGER, BAD.

If you wanna see more photos, pop over to yesterday’s post or head over to my Facebook page.

And with that I give you my FitBloggin 2012 experience. Who is going to help me or come with to Portland OR in 2013? It’s in June, should be a nice vacation and an excellent way to celebrate what will be FOUR YEARS of ROJ Running.

FitBloggin’ 2012 in pictures

I think a lot of us are still in conference comas and I think a lot of readers are getting sick of reading “And then we went to CrossFit which was amaze-balls” so here are a ton of pictures from my trip. Don’t get me wrong, I’m posting my own recap as well, but let’s make the transition a little easier?

Want to see the rest? Make sure you pop over to ROJ Running on Facebook, give me a “like”, and there they are as FitBloggin’ and McCormick tour.