Saturday, July 31, 2010

Simple Beef and Black Bean Tacos

We had one of those nights last night where we had things to do and we had to get dinner over with. And it needed to be good. No take out here, uh-huh.

So, I don't want you to think that this is going to be a culinary masterpiece. It was good, very good in fact, but it didn't use anything special or fancy. It was all stuff out of my fridge and pantry. But it was so good that I wanted to share it with you. Maybe you will have a night like ours and need something quick, too.

Beef and Black Bean Tacos

Serving will vary depending on the size of your taco shells and the appetites of your family.

1 lb ground beef, browned and drained
1-15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 taco seasoning packet, preferably low sodium
1/4 cup water
Taco shells of your choice, we used bought crunchy ones tonight
1/2 cup of sour cream, optional
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro, optional
1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
2 cups shredded cheese
shredded lettuce

First I cooked the beef and drained it off. I didn't take a picture of it because I think everyone knows what browned ground beef looks like. I then added the drained beans, the taco seasoning packets and water.

Stir it up and let it simmer while you heat up your shells.

Fill your shells and top then with top them with cheese, lettuce and sour cream topping (if you choose to make it) and and of your other favorite taco toppings.

This is the cilantro sour cream, made by mixing the sour cream, cilantro and lime juice.

So, there they are. Simple Beef and Black Bean Tacos. They are on the plate with some of my Mexican rice. Recipe for that tomorrow.

Look out later this week for an apple burrito recipe. Yup, you read it right, APPLE BURRITOS.

Heaven help my hips.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Butter is Better, Baby!

My children are percolating in the bathtub right now because they decided that it would be a fantastic idea to stand on the counter, rub butter all over themselves and my cookbooks, cabinets and counter top.

I am not looking forward to cleaning this mess up, let me tell you. I will be forever in awe of how a 2 year olds mind works. Why? Is this fun? I have never rubbed butter all over anything except a dinner roll in my whole life, so I'm just not sure what to think.

I guess this vinegar needed a little something extra, eh? And you know butter makes everything better.....maybe they wanted some pickles? I don't know....

And then the poor salt. Poor, Poor salt.
This is not going to be very easy to clean up, and I know once I start a project like this I'll find another something that needs cleaned and then another, and another until I'm left with nothing but scrubbing out the dog bowls.

So, it looks like I have a busy day of housework and butter removal.

What else did I have to do anyway though, right? Right.

I think I'll go suck my thumb now.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


So, I am thinking about some things. This can be very dangerous for me, it's how I get myself into trouble. But, I am kicking around the idea of starting another blog.

I know, I already have a blog. I just think that it might be nice to have a separate blog for just food. That way the people and family that want to just read about my family and life, can. The people that want to know more about my cooking, canning, baking and adventures in the kitchen can keep up with those.

So, I want to know- what do you think? Would you like to see two separate blogs, one for life and one for food?

or do you like them combined and together?

Let me know, I want to know what you would all want!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monsters and Monsters

My little monsters. They turned 2 today and I just don't know where the last two years went. They were just those tiny babies that we brought home.

But, facts are facts and they turned 2 today, so we made our monsters these little monsters:

These are just some of them, but you get the idea.

They were very very sweet with all of that icing on there...

Here is one example and then another:

They were incredibly fun to make and the kids really liked them.

They got bikes! And other presents! And it was fun!
 They can't wait for next year.

She had fun:

And so did she:

And we all can't believe that they are getting so big.

I'm going to go cry myself to sleep now.

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to our little monsters, A and B!!!!! We are having a family bbq and some cupcakes later, so pictures will follow tomorrow.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Our babies are turning 2 (SNIFF) on Monday, so I thought I would take you on a pictoral journey through those two years.

Let's start at the begining, shall we?

Alex, getting all of her gear hooked up. When they had to tape her down, I didn't think it was very funny. Now, I feel like doing this everytime I change their diapers. Also, I can now find some humor in it. I laugh so I don't cry kinda thing.

Little Brenna, our troublemaker, all hooked up and resting peacefully just minutes after being born. Tiny. That's all I have to say.

Alex, finally calmed down and resting. She was only on the breathing machine for a couple of days.

Brenna's tiny baby feets. Awww.

After a couple weeks they got to come home. They slept like this in the hospital, when they got home and they still sleep together like this. These are the first babies that have never spent one single night in my bed. They just won't sleep without the other one.

Bald, bald, bald.

Still bald! But looking at these pictures I can see the little personalities that they have right now in them, just shining through.

Bigger and hairy too!

Little dirty turkeys, all the time.

So happy together, unless someone bites or pushes the other. Then it's World War 3. I'm sad that the only good picture I have of both of them together, without anyone crying or with closed eyes, has their heads cut off.

Oh, well, I'll try again next year!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A Few of my Favorite Things

Easter 2009.

Hands down the cutest picture of Lainee that we have. 

June 2008

This is the all time best picture of our dog.

June 2010

She likes to put things up her nose, especially paper.

August 2008

They still sleep like this every night.

Thank you to my sister, EE, for taking pictures of my family. Without you I would forget how cute Lainee was on Easter, how small Dottie was when we brought her home and how teeny tiny our babies were when they finally came home from the hospital.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Top 10

Top 10 Things I Hate About:

Living In Town

1) No privacy. I would like to lay myself in my lawn and NOT feel self-conscious about who might drive by and see my chubby white legs.

2) Having to yell at my kids for looking into the neighbors yards. They don't just curiously check them out, they plaster themselves to the fence like weird little starfish and stare for all they are worth.

3) Bad neighbors. Need I say more?

4) Waving. I hate all the waving that goes on. I find myself doing one of two things, 1) avoiding eye contact with anyone or 2) not going outside to avoid having to wave at anyone.

5) Everyone knows what you are doing, "Oh, did you see the mess in the Cooke's front yard? I wonder if they are doing another project or just boycotting the dump!?"

6) You simple cannot have a good, healthy argument with your spouse without the neighbors knowing exactly what you are arguing about.

7) The kids can't go outside naked. This may not seem like a big deal, or maybe even weird, but if a 2 year old wants to go play in the sprinkler, they should be able to without being the people-at-the-end-of-the-street-who's-kids-are-always-outside-naked people.

8) The traffic.

9) The people who walk by and taunt your dog to the point that your dog no longer likes ANYONE.

10) The smells. Town just stinks, in one way or another. Someone is always burning something, or needs to take their trash to the dump, or needs to clean their yard, or needs one less dog, etc, etc, etc.

If you enjoy living in town, please disregard this post.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Today, like all days, I have many chores to do around the house. The number of these chores that I get done directly depends on what my children are up to.

For example: I cleaned the kitchen this morning, scrubbing down the counters, doing the dishes. all the usual stuff. I moved on to the living room where I was going to scrub down our floors. That required moving 15 tons of dirt and garbage from underneath our furniture and then sweeping.

As  I was washing our living room floors (on hands and knees, I might add), my little lovelies got on the kitchen counter and dumped out some spices and cocoa powder. Onto the kitchen counter, you know the one I just cleaned?

So, I hauled myself off the living room floor and into the kitchen to clean the kids and the counter again. In the meantime they ran their little cocoa covered selves right into the living room and onto.....yup, you guessed it. The wet floor. So there were little cocoa tracks all over the living room.

Back to the living room I went. But, while I was cleaning up that mess, they got into the fridge and "poured" themselves some milk. All. Over. The. Floor.

Can you see where this is going?

Tonight when my pruny little hands go to bed, I'm going to dream of a castle on a hill. On the door of the castle is going to have a little sign.

It reads: "NO kids allowed!"

And I'm going to sleep peacefully, with a smile on my face.

Friday, July 16, 2010


I love this picture of my oldest. She is very rarely captured in a picture without a cheesy, fake grin. But here, I caught her without her knowing it and she is just happy.
So cute, love it.

Have a HAPPY Friday everyone!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Thoughts on Food

OK, here's the deal. Many of you read my previous post about my juice fast. Well, today started my "real food" part of the program.

Real food is scary.

At least it is when you haven't eaten a bite of it for 8 days. You have to wonder what is going to happen. How will your stomach act when it has more than water in it? Will it revolt? Will you spend all day on the potty? I just wasn't sure.

So this morning I get up excited/apprehensive about chewing my food today instead of drinking it. And you know what? I found out I can barely eat ANYTHING. Breakfast-1/2 can apple and a dozen grapes. Lunch- a handful of baby carrots. Dinner- salad  with avocado, green onion, cucumber and salsa. I ate (no joke) like 6 bites and I was done. Stuffed to the point where my stomach hurts. I had an apple in there somewhere today, but this is some serious stuff.

My stomach is now the size of a raisin.

I don't know how to feel about that. I don't want to stretch it back out to it's previous extra large size. But, how do I feel about being full after eating a brownie? I just don't know, it's going to be a new experience that's for sure.

I will continue to update you on the progress as I go along.

Also, if I can lose another 10 pounds before we go on vacation in August, I will be halfway done with my weight loss goal. I'm so very very happy with that. Right now, I weight what I did when I brought my twins home two (!) years ago. Forward continues.


My sister and I were chatting in my living room one lovely summer day last week when my 5 year old emerges from our bathroom and says:

Are you ready for this?

"Mom, when are we going to get some toilet paper? I just had to use a pair of someones UNDERWEAR!"


Enjoy your day, I'll understand if you want to stop checking my blog. Really, I do. But, this is my life and I'm committed to sharing it with you. The good, the bad, and the.....dirty.

Cue The Funeral March

Sadly, Cooke Estates has lost a valuable member of their poultry family. Sometime in the night, Big Rhonda disappeared. Vanished. Vamoosed. Without a trace, she was gone. Nary a feather or sign of struggle did we find, only 3 sad sister birds wandering aimlessly around, waiting for their beloved sibling to return.

Alas, I fear it will not be so.

Farewell, Big Rhonda, Farewell.

*UPDATE* Big Rhonda's remains have been located and are scheduled for private burial later this afternoon.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

All Juice, All The Time

OK, so it's really no big secret that I am on a mission to lose all the weight I gained while having my 4 babies. As anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows, it can be frustrating.

A couple weeks ago I had hit a weight-loss plateau. I was kicking around the idea of doing a cleanse of some sort to kind of rid myself of some toxins. I had never done anything like that before and I didn't know if it would really work. I know plenty of people who swear by them and an equal number of people who think they are a giant scheme. So, I hit the internet and somehow found all sorts of places talking about a 21 day fast. Apparently this is hot right now because it was everywhere I looked.

When I started really looking into it I could see that it wasn't really a 21 day fast, but rather an 8 day juice fast, some raw food eating and then a gradual re-introduction into cooked foods.

So I decided to do it. I'm going to outline the 8 day juice fast for you now, as I am on the last day of it and feel that a little reflection would do me some good.

Day 1- It feels a little strange to know that all you can drink is vegetable and fruit juice. I was starving. Beyond hungry. I was so ready to give up and quit. I felt waterlogged, bloated and uncomfortable. See, you have to drink the same amount of water first, before you drink your juice, to dilute it. But you get as much as you want.

Day 2- I have at this point just started to chug the juice. Vegetable juice is not as tasty as I had imagined it to be, and I feel left out at meal times. Why can't I have a taco? It just isn't fair! I want to quit and throw the juicer out the window.

Day 3- I really want to eat some real food, but juicing is getting easier. I have found some combos that I really like. I'm starting to see some results already, I have dropped 6 pounds, I feel less puffy and my fingers and ankles aren't swollen in the morning anymore. That's a plus!!!

Day 4- Today was the hardest. I want to eat a hamburger with the rest of my family. I get in a giant fight with my husband because I want to quit. He supports my decision and it makes me angry. I'm ready to throw in the towel when he utters these words "I knew you would quit anyway." Now I have to finish to prove him wrong.

Day 5- Easy peasy. I have just incorporated juice into my world. Sure it would be nice to actually chew something, but I'm OK with the juice. The juice and I have become one. It's all very zen.

Day 6- I'm starting to feel pretty good now. I have more energy. Juicing isn't a problem anymore. Weight loss is up to 9 pounds.

Day 7- Another golden day. Juice tastes good now. I haven't once craved sweets, or soda or junk food this whole time. These were my Achilles heal, these are what has helped me balloon to this size. And you wanna know something? I was in the walmarts grocery shopping and they were bringing out donuts. I could smell them. I didn't even want one. No joke.

Day 8- Today. Feel so good. Weight loss at 15 pounds. I still have a long way to go but it's nice to feel so good for once. I have more energy, I'm not sleepy in the middle of the day, I have almost completely lost the horrid dark circles under my eyes.

I start the next phase of my "fast" tomorrow, all raw food for 3 days. I'm half scared to eat real food. But, I'm excited to see what the next phase will bring me.

I know this was a long post, but I wanted to share what I have been up to in my crazy little world. And for you to see that you really can do anything you put your mind to, even drinking nothing but juice for 8 days.

*On a side note, I will never be doing this again. Ever. Once is enough! But if you want to do it, I highly recommend it. You will feel fabulous!

Monday, July 12, 2010



My husband loves coleslaw from KFC. The recipes I had in my cookbooks didn't even come close to tasting the same and no amount of tweaking was getting us any nearer. So, I did what I do when I need to know how to make something. I googled it. And boy, was I ever amazed at the number of recipes that popped up! They were all very similar, so I'm guessing that at some point they all started from a singular recipe, maybe out of a cookbook, I'm just not sure which one.

This is some of the best coleslaw I have ever eaten. Not too sweet, not too sour, just right. And easy. And CHEAP! I love it when good, homemade things are easy on the budget.

Let's get started, shall we?

You will need:
 1 medium sized head of green cabbage
1 medium carrot
2 Tablespoons grated onion, juice and all
1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 Tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Shred up the cabbage and carrot. It needs to be pretty small, about the size of rice. Then to get all the onion juice in the mix, I grated the onion right over the top of my cabbage/carrot pile.

When I was done it looked like this:

I had a little bit of red cabbage left over in the fridge so I used it up. I ended up with about 7 1/2 cups of cabbage and 3/4 cup of carrot. But, really, the dressing probably could have taken up to another cup or so. It's very forgiving.

Next I mixed everything else together in a bowl:

Please forgive the dark picture. Someday I will remember not to use my favorite (and very dark red!) bowl when I take pictures. The sides are just too high and the bowl is too dark to get good ones.

Now, we just mix everything together and put it in a bowl in the fridge for AT LEAST 2 hours. This is important. If you don't let it work in there it will not get that delicious creamy texture. The cabbage needs time to break down and release it's juices. Boy, are cabbages juicy.

When you take it out of the fridge you will have something that looks like this:

And it will taste like heaven.

Make some for dinner soon, it goes so well with everything off the grill and is so easy. I love that it is make ahead and can just sit in the refrigerator all day while you are busy doing more important things.

*If you do not have buttermilk, don't let that stop you. Simply put about 3/4teaspoon of lemon juice in a measuring cup and fill in the remaining 1/4 cup with milk. Stir and let sit for about 5 min and you will have a pretty close approximation of buttermilk. Easy peasy!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

I'm Baaaaaccckkkkk!!!

Hello everyone! I am back and ready to go. It was nice to have a little vacation and now I have so many new ideas and even some recipes (KFC style coleslaw anyone???) for you this week.
I'm going to go enjoy my Sunday Funday with my family, and I hope you do the same. I look forward to seeing you all stop by tomorrow.

Also, because I love to laugh at myself, I will be filling you in on the crazy stuff I have been up to. It involves A LOT of juice. That's your one hint, are you interested yet???? :)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July

I hope everyone has a safe and fun 4th. I just wanted to let you guys know that I'll be taking a brief blog vacation while I wait for my anti-virus software to get here. SOMEONE forgot to order it before the trial on my new laptop ran out. I look forward to a little break and I'll have some new picture and posts when I get back!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Top 10

Top 10

Reasons Why I Hate Walmart

1) There is never more than 3 check stands open at one time.

2) You never fail to see someone you would rather avoid while standing in one of the 3 aforementioned check stand lines.

3) The workers are generally rude.

4) The greeters make me uncomfortable. Do you answer them, ignore them? I never know..

5) Finding things is impossible. Just when you memorize where something is, they move it.

6) They are always out of what I need.

7) No one knows what anything is, so asking for help is of no use.

8) Checkers often ask what you are going to do with so much of such and such item, i.e. 25 lbs of flour. Does no one there cook?!

9) You cannot go into the store without seeing *at least* one person with insufficient undergarments on. 'Nuff said there....

Last but not least the number 10 reason I hate Walmart is:

I always get stuck in the section where they are doing their morning meeting. The singing, clapping and general forced merriment is a cruel and unusual punishment.

Have a Happy 4th Of July everyone!