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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Holiday Hangover with a Side of Bison Taco Salad

Happy New Year to everyone! Wow, this Mama is suffering from a major holiday hangover; anyone else? Travel. Travel. More Travel. Family. Friends. Food. More Food. Cocktails.....More Cocktails. PHEW!  I love the holidays and visiting with family and friends, but I would be lying if I denied the fact that I secretly let out a huge sigh of relief every January 2nd (January 1st is too soon....usually nursing a hangover or traveling, or some awful combination of both).

This was our first year celebrating the holidays with our little lady and let me tell you, EVERYONE was right. I have never felt more complete or enjoyed the holidays as much.  EVERYONE was also right about the fact that when your children are this little, they will not care how many hours you spent searching for the latest and greatest toy.  They will not care how many hours of sleep you lost cruising the Internet for the best deal on what you knew would soon be their favorite object.  You will think your child will be different.....NO, they will NOT.  Not, at least, at 7 months old (or 8 - 18 months either at least from what I have observed).  They WILL love the wrapping paper, the tissue paper, the boxes.  They WILL squeal with delight as they rip open their gifts (or gently tug at a corner of the paper then look to you for approval before tearing an ever so tiny piece at the other end; a painfully slow process) and they will play with whatever item leaps from beneath the wrapping.  But only for a second or two before something shiny somewhere nearby catches their eye.

We actually listened to the wisdom of friends and family warning us of this and I am very proud of my husband and I for really keeping our Christmas with the little lady underwhelming.  Her Grandparents, however (and we love you dearly and she is so fortunate to have such generous, loving people in her life), did not get the memo.  Well, they did, but they chose to ignore it.  Ha!  I guess that's one of the many privileges of being a Grandparent - all of the glory and none of the headache of trying to figure out where to put all of the toys, games, books, or clothes.  Have I mentioned we live in a two bedroom condo?  Yes.  Indeed.  And it now has items stuffed into every corner of every shelf on every wall in every closet possible....and we still have two large toy bins and will have to get more.


I am so looking forward to a wonderful, fun-filled 2012 and I hope you are as well. I like the notion of being able to start fresh once every 12 months.  I hate the idea of time passing so quickly.

Since I haven't been able to figure out how to freeze time, against my will I move forward.  This year will be full of wonderful things; the birth of my niece or nephew, my daughter's first birthday, my second wedding anniversary, trips with friends, visits with family.  I am thankful for every new year....for every new day.

Considering 2011 was without question the most incredible year of my life, I am quite certain 2012 will have to work very hard to impress me. SO, 2012, bring it on. Bring on the goodness, bring on the fun.  Bring on the challenges, changes and unexpected twists and turns.  This Mommy is ready to see what you've got!

Bison Taco Salad really has nothing to do with starting the New Year (unless maybe you have made resolutions to be healthier, more conscious of what you consume and knock off a few calories here and there).  If so, then this recipe is a great way to accomplish all of those things (and tastes phenomenal).  Bison is a very lean protein with a low calorie and fat content.  If you can't find bison (or if you prefer to avoid it all together) you of course can substitute a grass-fed ground beef or something similar.

1.5 Pounds Grass-fed Ground Bison
1 Head Organic Lettuce, washed and chopped
4-5 Organic Roma Tomatoes, washed and diced (about 2 Cups diced)
2 Organic English Cucumbers, peeled and diced (I like English cucumbers because the seeds are very small if there are any at all, but regular cucumbers are fine too)
1 Medium Organic White Onion, peeled and diced
2 Cans (16-20 oz each) Organic Pinto Beans
1 Cup Organic Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1 Cup Organic Monterrey Jack Cheese, shredded
1 Clove Garlic, minced finely
2 Tablespoons Reserve Liquid from a Jar of Jalapenos
1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon Ground Red Pepper
1 Teaspoon Garlic Salt
1 - 2 Teaspoons Sea Salt
1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
2 Teaspoons Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil


  • In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add garlic, sauteing until just brown
  • Add bison, stirring frequently

  • Add all remaining dry spices and continue cooking for approximately 8 minutes until meat is lightly browned and mostly cooked. 
  • Poor Jalapeno reserve over the meat, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for an additional 5 - 8 minutes until the liquid has been fully absorbed (this not only adds flavor but keeps the meat from drying out once in the salad)
  • While meat is cooking, empty both cans of beans (with liquid) into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat; once boiling, turn temperature to low and allow to heat until you are ready to prepare the salad

  • When the bison has finished cooking, remove the meat and beans from heat and drain excess liquid from the beans
  • In a large salad bowl, begin layering the salad by placing a large spoonful or two of the beans on the bottom of the bowl
  • Follow with a scoop or two of the bison
  • Add 1/2 of the cheddar and 1/2 of the Monterrey jack cheeses

  • Add approximately 1/2 of the chopped lettuce and top with 1/2 of the tomatoes, cucumbers and onions
  • Repeat a layer of beans, meat and cheese with remaining portions

  • Top with a layer of lettuce and decorate as you like with the remaining veggies (and I always sprinkle a little extra cheese on top!)
  • Top with sour cream and salsa, chopped avocado, organic Italian or Ranch dressing, whatever you like....enjoy!

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