Tex-Mex Casserole

Tex-Mex Casserole - Lindsay Ann Loft

If you’re looking for a flavorful, easy to create dish this tex-mex casserole can be on your table tonight.

Tex-Mex Casserole with Mushrooms and Black Beans

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 6 Servings


  • 1 Pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • Olive oil
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Package corn tortillas, halved
  • 2 1/2 Cups salsa
  • 2 Cups Monterrey jack or cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Heat olive oil in a skillet on a medium temperature and saute mushrooms until browned and shrink in size.
  3. Add garlic and cayenne pepper Note: I used 3 or 4 shakes from my bottle because I have tiny taste buds eating dinner and I don't want to burn her mouth, feel free to use more for adults
  4. Season with salt and pepper and add black beans
  5. Cook until the beans have warmed through
  6. Create a pattern starting by lining the bottom of your baking dish with corn tortillas, 1/2 mushroom and bean mixture, salsa, cheese, tortillas, other 1/2 of the mushroom and bean mixture, salsa, cheese, top with tortillas, salsa and cheese
  7. Cover with foil and bake for 10 minutes
  8. Remove foil and bake for 5-10 minutes more, until the cheese has melted and become bubbly
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My Favorite Ways of Keeping Active

Part of a healthy lifestyle, whether you’re trying to lose pounds or not, is keeping active. Chobani asked me to share a few helpful tips with my readers on my favorite ways to stay active. They’ve also created this helpful info-graphic to illustrate how easy it is to burn 100 calories during your day.

photo credit: lululemon athletica via photopin cc

photo credit: lululemon athletica via photopin cc

My favorite way to stay active is taking a walk or a hike through the park. It’s amazing what fresh air will do for your mind and body. Now that I have a two year old to push in a stroller, this adds a new level of difficulty – and fun – to my walks through nature. We like to stop and look at the birds and interesting plants. Halfway though a long walk we stop and have a snack and sip some water to stay hydrated. Of course, I am sure to apply sunscreen to the both of us!

daffodils and primroses 1.2

Another great activity is working in the garden. It’s a practical workout when you lift, carry, rake, shovel, and pull weeds. You also reap an added the benefit of a beautiful garden or well manicured lawn. I am in the midst of working on a new vegetable garden in our yard. I can’t wait to see the fresh vegetables it produces!

I really enjoy these 12 fun ways to burn 100 calories. Its easy when you’re having fun dancing in the kitchen or playing with your kids.

I hope you have an active and fabulous Monday!


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Kathy Shares her Struggles and Plans

Kathy's Before and After Photo

I find myself rather frustrated as I think about weight loss. Nearly eight years ago, I started my weight loss journey. It is exactly that, a journey. I have not perfected anything. I work everyday and once again, I feel my weight journey involves emotion. When things are beyond my control, I turn to food. Before I realized it, 5 pounds come back, then 10 and 20 then more. While I still have over 1/2 of my weight off, I need to get back into the game. Get my head in the right place.

In these last few years, life happened. Many joys and a few sorrows and some very stressful situations. That’s what we all face at some time or another. It is how we deal with them, is the true challenge.

I went back to some of my old habits. Those are familiar to me. As much as I hate to admit it, I got comfortable with it again. I quit walking, I started to eat anything that I wanted. The sugar addiction took hold and one cookie turned into maybe 10 by the end of the day. Once again, I would do the “start back on the program” and made it a few days and gradually starting eating poorly again. The old yo-yo thing. When you live that life for 25+ years, those habits come back quickly. Now, to wrangle it all back in.

I found when I tried to get some weight off again, I didn’t do it the right way. I was looking at calories, not paying attention to healthy, just numbers. As I used to say, calories don’t work for me. I need to eat healthy foods to get me on track. I would walk a day or two, get weighed and since I didn’t lose 15 pounds in 2 days, I would get frustrated. Obviously, you can’t lose that kind of weight and I am truly joking about it but that is what I wanted. Don’t we all. Wake up in the morning and the weight is gone. Here’s the situation…I didn’t gain the weight overnight, it will not come off overnight. I gained about 5 pounds a year. That wasn’t horrible if I would have stopped after a couple of years but 7 years later, I now have some weight to lose.

So, here I am, needing to get the pounds off and get healthy again. I went back to my original post and saw how motivated I was and how I went about losing the weight. It is time to get back to where I was.

First thing…start thinking positive. It is amazing to me how your mind can become so negative. My positive self talk went down the tubes. Now I was saying to myself , “I can’t do this. I look horrible, I feel horrible. I have trouble sleeping because I ate too much and too close to bed.” At this point, my clothes are too tight. Now it is time to pick myself up and realize that we all fall down. I am not staying down, it is time to pick myself up and get that positivity back into my head. There were two things that stuck in my mind nearly eight years ago. One…until you take your last breath on this earth, you can make a change and two…negativity breeds more negativity. From this point on, all the negativity has to go.

Second…it is time to start eating clean. I need to focus on eating more vegetables. I got away from that as well. I really didn’t eat a lot of processed foods or fried foods but I still need to be more accountable to everything that I eat. That includes cutting out sugar again. That is my addiction.

Third…I need to start moving again. Walking isn’t hard. It is a matter of just making yourself do it. Don’t start off with an all or nothing attitude. I don’t need to do the 4 miles in an hour like I used to do. Start off slower. I need to push myself but not to the point that I can’t move for days.

Fourth…Nothing is all or nothing. I do that with my exercising but I do it with everything. If I eat something, oh well, the day if blown. No it isn’t. That is life. We can’t be 100% all day, everyday. That is way to much pressure on myself. Small changes lead to big successes. I need to remember that.

Lindsay asked me to blog about my journey once again. It is time to get back to eating well and fueling my body, not feeding my addiction to food. Once a week, I will share some of my thoughts and feelings as well as some new recipes that I want to try. I invite you to join me with my journey and share some of your thoughts and your experiences. So many of us deal with food issues and I find it inspiring when people share their journey as well.

Have a positive and healthy week!

Kathy is a contributing writer at Lindsay Ann Loft. She has been sharing her weight loss story and tips with our readers since 2011. She has a passion for healthy eating and helping others with their journey to a healthier lifestyle.
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10 Free Things To Do This Summer

photo credit: Smoke Trails via photopin (license)

It’s summer and everyone is ready to get out of the house and have some fun. Today’s post is 10 ways to have a great time without spending a penny, a win win.

  1. Story time at Barnes and Noble– Sit and listen to a story this summer. We love to go to Barnes and Noble and listen to stories once a week, and afterward we work on a craft or coloring. It’s totally free, unless Mom or Dad takes a trip to the in store Starbucks.
  2. Check out the library – Following up on story time, libraries offer story times, movies, and other great programs or activities during the week.
  3. Museum passes – If your library offers museum passes, take advantage! These are fabulous. Our library gives us access to two Children’s Museums and many others in our area. We can take up to 6 people with each pass! Visit your local library to find out more.
  4. Visit a farmer’s market – A great place to see and learn about colorful produce and flowers.
  5. Summer festivals – If it’s a summer staple, there is a festival for it! We went to a Red, White, and Blueberry Festival with blueberries as far as the eye can see.
  6. Fourth of July Fireworks – A must for the summer, pack a blanket and snacks.
  7. Be a hometown tourist – Take a fresh look at your hometown. What sights would you like to see if you were visiting for the first time?  Historical sites are often public places or parks and no cost.
  8. Take a nature hike – My daughter, Lillie, is amazed by the sights and sounds in the park when we go on the trails, she points to trees, flowers, and squirrels. Take time to look at the surroundings, or use a bird watching app, like this one from Cornell University.
  9. Movie night – Invite friends over, make popcorn, and watch a favorite movie. After all, no school in the morning.
  10. Visit a farm – During the week, we have a farm that is open to visitors for free (on the weekend you pay a small entry fee). We visit the farm stand, say hi to the goats and horses, and see apples growing on the trees.

Bonus ideas (not free but still fun!)

  1. The Philadelphia Art Museum offers a pay what you wish day twice a month. This is a chance for families to visit the museum without spending the $20 per adult and $14 per youth admission rates. Check to see if your museum does the same thing! Great for big families with older kids. Now cue the Rocky theme song.
  2. Visit a kids gym for open play, some offer free time for $5. It’s much cheaper than membership costs.
  3. Pack a picnic – pack up lunch and a big blanket and head to the backyard or a park.
  4. Put on a play or create a movie. With iPhones and iPads everyone can make a movie at home.

Save the cash for vacation and enjoy each day of summer!

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5 Lunch Ideas Under 400 Calories

photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc

photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc

Looking for healthy lunch options under 400 calories? Here they are!  The calorie counts for these 5 lunches are for specific brands, be sure to look at the packaging for the food you are preparing. Personally, I do not count vegetables, if you want to, add them but the amounts wouldn’t be too much.
Some of these ideas work best when you cook ingredients the night before, assemble and are ready to heat for lunch.

Stir-fry – 366 Calories

  • Steamed vegetables – Free
  • Trader Joe’s Baked Tofu – 150 Calories
  • 1 Cup Brown Rice – 216 Calories

Veggie Burger & Baked Potato – 360 Calories

  • Garden Burger – 100 Calories
  • Arnold’s Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins – 100 Calories
  • Spinach – Free
  • Condiments – 50 Calories
  • Baked Potato – 110 Calories
  • Salsa – 50 Calories

Soup and Salad – 300 Calories

  • 2 Cups Lentil Soup – 200 Calories
  • 2 Cups Mixed Greens with Veggies – Free
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Salad Dressing – 50 Calories
  • Croutons – 50

PB&J and Apple – 372 Calories

  • 2 Slices Ezekiel Bread – 160 Calories
  • 1 Tablespoon Natural Peanut Butter – 90 Calories
  • 1 Tablespoon raspberry jam – 50 Calories
  • Medium Red Apple – 72 Calories

Veggie Stuffed Pita – 320 Calories

  • Arnold’s Whole Wheat Pita – 200 Calories
  • Lettuce, Cucumber, Shredded Carrots, Sprouts – Free
  • 2 Tablespoons Hummus – 50 Calories
  • 1/4 Cup Chickpeas – 70 Calories

Do you think you’ll make any of these lunches?  Share your feed back in the comments below.


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