Monday, February 28, 2011

Easy Tacos

We are big lovers of taco night here.  They are just so quick and easy to make, and I am always guaranteed that Eleanor will eat them.  I do not, however, love the packets of taco seasoning.  I always feel like I need to drink gallons of water after eating them, even when I try the low sodium.  A couple of years ago I found this recipe somewhere online and we have loved using it.  I make it most years for larger family gatherings because it doubles so well.  I honestly do not remember where I found it, but if you recognize it let me know!

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2/3 cup onion, chopped
1 Tbsp garlic, minced (about 3 cloves)
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 lb ground beef (I use whichever is on sale that week, recipe calls for 90% lean)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat, add onion and cook for about 4 minutes until soft.  Then add garlic, spices and salt(if desired, I do not); cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add ground beef and break up, cook until beef is no longer pink, roughly 5 min.  Add tomato sauce - vinegar and bring to a simmer.  Reduce to med low and simmer, uncovered, until liquid has reduced and thickened, about 10 minutes.  There will be liquid remaining.   You can now add whatever toppings you choose.  I know this takes longer than using a packet, however I find that it is so worth it.  Enjoy!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Burritos and being sick

I am not going to post any pictures today because nobody here is looking that great, we have been stuck here at home because poor Eleanor is sick yet again.  She has a skin rash, and while getting that checked at the doctors office, she came down with a fever and the stomach flu - and a sore throat to go with it.  Needless to say, we have been here at home and I have been cleaning up a storm.  I did try and new recipe last Friday night that I want to share.  I got the recipe from All Recipes and was quick and tasty.

Fabulous Wet Burritos
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion (I have to use onion powder because if E catches sight of any onion she is done with the meal)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 (4.5 ounce) can diced green chile peppers
  • 1 (16 ounce) can refried beans
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chili without beans
  • 1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed tomato soup ( I always use the low sodium_
  • 1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce (we use medium)
  • 6 (12 inch) flour tortillas, warmed (I microwave them for about 45 with a wet paper towel between each one)
Optional Items
  • 2 cups shredded lettuce
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
1.  Brown the beef, drain, add garlic, cumin salt and pepper.  Add chiles and beans and stir well, turn off but keep warm.
2.  Combine chile w/out beans, tomato soup and enchilada sauce in a small pan.  Cook until heated through.
3.  Put about 1/2 cup of meat filling in tortilla and roll up, spoon sauce over top and add cheese.

And you are done.  Another variation is after rolling them all up put them in a casserole dish, cover with sauce and bake at 350 for 20 min covered.  Remove foil, sprinkle cheese on top, bake another 5 minutes.

I did not take a picture, however here is the picture from All Recipes.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ready for Spring

It is Tuesday so that means it is time to link up with the Too Cute Tuesday Linky Par-tay over at Funky Polkadot Giraffe 
I happen to be a person that LOVES winter, I really love a good snowstorm and staying in.  However, as with everyone else, by this time of year I am ready for Spring.  As I slowly begin to take down our Valentine's Day decorations, I am getting ready for spring - maybe a bit early, however I am ready.  What became a potential project flop was readily fixed and saved after a good nights sleep.  I had originally painted these 6x12 boards a pretty yellow, Lemon Ice, from Lowes.  I then cut the lettering and pictures out on white vinyl using my Silhouette.  This is where it went bad, when I hung them up there was no contrast between the yellow and the white - you could not see the writing at all!  I debated what to do, had a brownie and went to bed.
In the morning, I decided to try and spray paint over it and then pull off the vinyl - kind of like a stencil.  It worked!  This was not the easiest job, it was 20 out and my husband has forbidden me to spray paint in the basement again!  So, I was outside, I have never sprayed anything so fast in my life.  Here it is!

The empty glass bowl was a lucky find of mine at Pat Catan's the other day - $3.99.  I am on the quest to find something to put in it, the main problem is I do not know what I want!  My next project is a spring subway art.  I ditched the yellow paint and already found a mossy green for a large 18x24 board.  I think I have everything I want decided on and I plan to cut it all out and place it this weekend.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Topiaries

I got the idea for these topiary trees from The Idea Room.  I originally thought they would take a great deal of time to cut all the circles, so I decided to make them so I could have them past Valentine's Day.  I originally wanted pink, yellow and green, however JoAnn's only had these colors.  We have a weekday coffee hour at our church and many of the women knit and crochet.  So, armed with a big bag of felt, a cup and a sharpie, I arrived!  Lucky me, many of the women were so interested that they jumped right in and helped.  In less than 1 hr the circles were all cut!  That night I set down with a DVR'd episode of Downton Abbey on PBS, pins and the styrofoam balls.  The one thing I did learn was that I was pinning the circles to close together, in certain areas they look less like flowers.  I will remember this for next time, certainly an easy fix!  I picked up the clay pots, grass, dowel rod and ribbon at Pat Catan's.  I spray painted it all white (in the basement again I might add), put some styrofoam in the pots and added each topiary.  I really am very happy with these and hope to make more for the summer, fall, and Christmas.

I am linking up to the Too Cute Tuesday Linky Par-tay over at Funky Polkadot Giraffe.  Go check out Kyla's blog, she has some great stuff!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Organizing...or making it look less chaotic

One of the "benefits" to any snow storm is my desire to purge.  As I have mentioned before, our house is over 100 years old and is lacking in any storage.  The downstairs is the living room, dining room and kitchen plus a huge family room(the previous owner added this on).  We use the living room as our family room and the family room as Eleanor's playroom and my sewing room.  Often during the day when I am in the living room ironing or folding laundry, Eleanor's toys seem to make it to the living room.  We really needed somewhere to store some things and I really wanted something to fill in this space
We are holding off buying new furniture until our cat dies.  (Yes, I am aware of how awful that sounds...however he has destroyed our current furniture and he really is quite old)  Anyway, I do not want to put money into any tables when I do not know what my furniture will look like.  Over the summer I bought one of these at Target for our bedroom and I thought it would go well in here.
The bends in the backs are not as noticeable as the photos make them look.  I still need to find some stuff to fill in the empty bins.  I am also not completely sold on the way the top looks.  The lamp was only $2.99 at Target and the Family frame was in the dollar bins there.  I had the silhouette already.  It works for now but I am on the hunt for some other things. 

And another picture with a little lady who loves to jump into all my photos
After finishing the set for the living room on Friday, I decided to tackle Eleanor's craft cabinet.  Our family room is carpeted and I just cannot handle Eleanor painting or using glue or playdough over carpet.  As a result, Eleanor's craft cabinet, easel, and table are in the dining room - yep, it looks just as good as it sounds:)  We did have her using a bookcase to store everything, but it was a constant MESS.  I decided this morning that I wanted another cubeical so off to Target I went!  This time I got 9 fabric bins to store everything.  I was going to get neutral bins since it is our dining room, however I gave in to her color desires.  After all, there is already an easel and table in there, not looking fancy anyway!  So far so good, I do need to find things for the top also. 
I did recently order some heat transfer material for my Silhouette and I think I will use it to make some fun labels for the bins.  The bins have done a great job of hiding so much and I feel like the house is looking less cluttered!  The playroom will be my next snow day attack!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Day

So I am thinking lots of people are blogging about their snow day(s)!  We briefly went to the store yesterday but other than that, we have been home since Monday.  Where we are in Ohio we always get lots of snow, so we tend to take it all in stride.  However, when we heard that we were going to get snow followed by a couple inches of ice and then snow, we knew we were in for something!  The closer it got last night, we did get a bit nervous about losing power.  I am all for a fabulous snow storm, but ice tends to mean loss of power.  I heard 9,000 people in our town are without power, however it did not impact us!  After watching way too much TV the last 2 days and baking enough to double my size, I decided it was time for us to go play in the snow.  Eleanor absolutely loves to play in the snow, in fact it is battle to get her in.  Here are some of our pictures:




Hope you are staying warm and dry wherever you are!