Wednesday, April 15, 2015

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Taco Night!

Sometimes creativity just goes out the window and you end up with taco night. And you're not even sad about it. Because, it's delicious.

We've had many versions of taco night over the years, all including some sort of store bought packet or spice dumped over ground beef. Ever since the kids started eating "real" food, I've made the push to mostly serve real food around here. So, when my friend Kaylen told me about the cookbook "100 Days of Real Food", I was excited to try it. There are so many great and kid friendly recipes (including Taco Night!) that we have loved and I feel good about serving. I, in turn, recommended it to my friend Chelsea because we are usually on the same page on crunchy mom-isms and both love new cookbooks. Read her review here!

I hope you and yours enjoy this recipe as much as we do!

Taco Night! 


2 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup chopped onions
1 pound ground pork*
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
Juice of 1/2 lime

Recommended accompaniments: Corn Tortillas, shredded lettuce, sour cream, avocado, graded cheese, cilantro, salsa

*Recipe calls for pork. Maybe its the Texas girl in me but I strongly prefer ground beef!


1. Heat the oil in a salute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft but not browned. 3-4 minutes.
2. Add the ground meat and cook while breaking up the meat with a spatula. Continue to cook until the meat has browned all the way through. Drain off the fat (if desired), then season with chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt.
3. Stir in the lime juice and serve warm with the taco filings of your choice.

I like to make the taco seasoning in bulk in advance. I store it in an airtight container in the pantry and it makes a very easy "go to" when you need a quick dinner!

Taco Seasoning

1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container. Use 2 1/2 teaspoons taco seasoning per 1 pound ground meat.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Cooper Hits the Slopes

Last week we took Cooper to Steamboat for his first ski trip. Let me tell you, between ski school and only having one kid with us, there was something that happened over that weekend that resembled an ACTUAL VACATION. It was lovely.

Now before you start feeling too bad for Sister, know that she was home with Papa who was filling her days more than I could even dream of. One of the days we were gone, he took her to: Hermann Park to feed the ducks; the Children's Museum; out to lunch (and somehow home in time for a nap); to go see her first movie - Cinderella (although she apparently lasted about 10 minutes); and, out to dinner! Suffice it to say, she did not even greet me when I got home. She clearly had a better time than she would have in ski school day care. She clearly had a better time than she does with regular old mom who does things with her that include the grocery store, gasp!

Back to the ski trip... Traveling with 4 year olds is down right easy. They carry their own bags! They are easily and quietly entertained on the plane! No diapers or extra gear! Sorry Sis, talk to me when you're potty trained and through the threenage years.

After our flight, we were up and running pretty quickly. (FYI, Houston - Steamboat is a direct 2-ish hour flight and we were at our condo within about 30 minutes of landing!) Cooper was anxious to play in the snow which was thankfully still around in the balmy spring weather!

The next morning, we all geared up for a day of skiing and ski school for Cooper. We were a little worried about how he would do. He's not usually so great dealing with new places. Or new people. Or being out of his routine. Or away from home. But other than that, this kid is totally flexible!

As it turns out, all of the angst was for nothing because he totally did great! I'm sure there were more than a few tears but by the time we picked him up he was smiling and yelling at us to "WATCH ME!!!" as he skied down the ski school hill. He got to move up a (half) level on the first day and was able to balance on his skis and stop (using the edgie wedgie). OK, so we are not headed to the Olympics any time soon but he had a blast and was begging us to take him up the mountain. AND, most importantly, he had a lot of fun. I mean, who wouldn't want to learn how to ski from a bunch of 20-somethings who feed you pizza and chocolate cookies and teach you games like "Sheep Butt" and "Who Tooted"? No, I haven't asked to be filled in on the rules for those...

The little ski bum after day 2 on the slopes. Dudealicious.
Apres ski snowman!
First time up the ski lift!
I don't think I realized how amazing ski school was going to be for Kyle and I. Not only did they teach Cooper the basics, they fit him with boots skis and a helmet which he got to keep at the school overnight. No hauling extra gear for us! And, even better, it lasted from 9am to 2:45pm which meant we got to have almost 6 hours of uninterrupted ski time and went on lunch dates.

Win. Win. Win. All around, win.

Also, I've decided that spring skiing is totally my jam. As it turns out, in my 30s I'm definitely more interested in being warm and not going too fast so between the warm weather and the wet snow I was a happy girl! Direct quote from Kyle, "You look like you know what you're doing up there. You also look like you really do not want to fall." Fair.

So maybe I'm not headed for the Olympics anytime either but I too had the best time and it warmed my heart to watch Cooper do this:

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Tomato-Zucchini Tart

Every time the first breath of warm air creeps in each spring, you can bet I am making this recipe! It definitely has a lot of summer flavors that just get you in the mood for warmer weather to come.

Truth be told, Kyle doesn't love this recipe. I don't know if its the strangeness of vegetables in a pie crust and his inability to categorize this meal or if its the lack of meat for his oh-so-manly palate. Either way, it's one of my favorites and I just throw it in as a side dish for him and dare him to quibble over a home cooked meal...

I found this recipe in a Southern Living magazine the year we got married and I have been making it ever since. Recipe here and below!

Tomato-Zucchini Tart


  • 1 refrigerated piecrust
  • 1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced (about 3/4 lb.) 
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil 
  • *3 medium plum tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped 
  • 1/3 cup (1 1/2 oz.) freshly grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 1/3 cup light mayonnaise 
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
(* - per recipe. I use two.)


1. Fit piecrust into a 9-inch tart pan according to package directions; trim excess. Prick bottom and sides of piecrust using a fork.
2. Bake piecrust at 450° for 9 to 11 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool.
3. Sauté zucchini in hot oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat 2 minutes or until tender. Arrange zucchini in bottom of prepared piecrust. Arrange tomatoes on top of zucchini.
4. Stir together basil, cheese, and mayonnaise. Drop by teaspoonfuls evenly on top of tomatoes, and spread gently. Sprinkle with pepper.
5. Bake at 425° for 10 to 15 minutes or until thoroughly heated and cheese mixture is slightly melted.