Taco Tuesday

DSC_0985I know, I know it’s not Tuesday. But Taco Tuesday sounds so much better than taco Thursday, plus we ate these on Tuesday. I love tacos for dinner. They are so simple, delicious and most importantly easy. This is a go-to dinner in our household when we are short on time. For years  we used the little taco season packets that you buy at the grocery store. Have you ever looked at the ingredients though? It’s kind of weird considering it should just be spices. One packet we looked at even have caramel color, whomp whomp. Why do you need to change the color of spices?

Taco seasoning is so easy to make and its all spices you probably have already in your pantry. You can make it as spicy or not spicy as you want. I make a large batch at one time and which makes taco night even faster.

On side note, I love that picture of the taco at the top of the post. It looks so lovely and dainty. As soon as I was done taking pictures I piled on about 10lbs of cheese and salsa. I got no shame in my taco game.

Taco Seasoning

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 4oz

Taco Seasoning

This mix is enough for 3lbs of meat. Only 2T per 1lb of meat is required.

Ingredients

  • 1T Chili Powder
  • 4 1/2 tsp Cumin
  • 3 tsp Sea Salt
  • 3 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • 3/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 3/4 tsp Onion Powder
  • 3/4 tsp Oregano
  • Spicey Version - Substitute
  • 3T Chili Powder
  • 3/4 tsp Red Pepper

Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients in small bowl
  2. Brown ground beef
  3. Add 2T of mix per 1lb of meat
  4. Add 1/4c of water
  5. Stir for a few minutes to allow sauce to thicken
http://runningonlaughter.com/2015/04/09/taco-tuesday/

Light and Fluffy No-Bake Yogurt Pie

Like many women, I’ve been trying to slowly overhaul my diet and cut out some of the crap.  It has been a challenge to change my ways, especially when it comes to my sweet tooth.  So recently I was trying to figure out a yummy dessert that was slightly less terrible than some of the other desserts that I typically eat (I’m talking about you, Girl Scout cookies).  That’s when I remembered an easy yogurt pie that my mom and I used to make when I was a kid.  I won’t lie, the fact that this pie is easy enough for a 5 year old to make was a huge factor in my decision.  Lori is the real cook at Running on Laughter.  If it is more than a couple of easy steps, I just don’t have the fortitude to stick with a recipe.

Ingredients:

1 Premade Graham Cracker Pie Crust

1/2 Container of Whipped Topping

1 Container of Fruit on the Bottom Yogurt

Optional: Frozen or Fresh Fruit

March 29_Pic 1

As I mentioned, this receipe is super easy. Just mix your yogurt, whipped topping and any fruit add-ins together.

March 29_Pic 2

March 29_Pic 3

Then, scoop everything into your pie crust and pop the pie in the freezer.  You can choose to thaw it before serving or eat it like a frozen dessert (my fave!).  If you’re feeling really motivated, you could even place some more fruit on top to add visual interest.

March 29_Pic 4

Non-toxic Spring Cleaning

March 15_Pic 1

Hey there!

Is anyone else loving this warmer, sunnier weather?  I’m so happy that the snow is finally starting to thaw.  The fresh air makes it so much easier to focus on all those things that I’ve been neglecting over the winter.

Now that it’s getting closer to summer BBQ weather, I have to make sure that my house is ready for company and impromtu parties.  And you know what that means?  Spring cleaning.

One thing that I hate about spring cleaning is the nasty, toxic chemicals that are in almost everything.  I want something that will scour my bathroom, but I’d rather not scour my lungs at the same time.  Luckily, it’s so cheap and easy to make really nice cleaning products at home with safer alternatives.  Today, I’m going to share my favorite recipe for a simple bathroom cleanser.

Supplies:

1 cup baking soda

1/4 cup castile soap (I like Dr. Bronner’s)

1/2 cup water

1-2 tablespoon(s) white vinegar

3/4 tsp essential oil (I use tea tree for its cleansing properties)

March 15_Pic 2

Slowly mix together the baking soda, water, and castile soap.  Next, add the vinegar and essential oil.  Pour the mixture into your container of choice.  I personally like to use a repurposed squirt top bottle (dish soap bottle, shower gel bottle, whatev) because it’s easier to use for cleaning.

March 15_Pic 5

The water and baking soda will separate a bit, so just give your container a little shake before using it.  Take that, soap scum!

 

 

Want results? Practice the One-Minute Rule

Feb15_Pic 1

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

-Aristotle

This quote by Aristotle is probably my very favorite because it perfectly captures a simple yet powerful idea: that we have the power to set ourselves up for success by simply developing good habits. Each day we’re forced to make countless choices from the time we get up until we go to sleep at night. All of this activity takes energy and will power. It’s no wonder that we sometimes neglect the things that are important for our well-being. The problem with allowing bad habits to take root is that minor lapses can quickly become larger problems that can seem insurmountable.

Never is this more apparent to me than when it comes to clutter. I tend to be a pretty visual person. I love art, color, and beauty. I’m also extremely sensitive to a messy environment. To me, internal calm cannot exist in external chaos, and I immediately feel anxious when surrounded by too much “stuff.” In fact, at some point it becomes easy to lose site of the individual issues contributing to a mess and the surroundings can become an overwhelming mass of disorganization.

One of the easiest and most helpful ways that I’ve found to counteract this issue is by practicing the One Minute Rule which Gretchen Rubin outlines in her book, The Happiness Project. (GretchenRubin.com) The basic premise of this principle is to complete any task that will take you one minute or less to accomplish. The result is that this seriously cuts down on the severity of any disorganization without a ton of effort.

This rule has even helped my relationship since I live with a partner that is somewhat less senstive to clutter than I am. I used to nag about things such as dirty laundry on the floor or opened junk mail on the counter. To her, it just seemed easier to leave things where they naturally fell if she was in the middle of a task. To me, it seemed that I was always wading through junk that had the sole purpose of making me angry. The problem is that those minor messes add up quickly. So I agreed to stop nagging (the struggle is real) if she would agree to start practicing  the One Minute Rule, and it’s been so helpful.

Here are some examples that I try to set in my own home:

1) Process all mail as soon as I get home. I put all junk mail into the recycling right away rather than let it linger.

2) Pick up and put away Asher’s toys (seriously…..why does that dog want ALL of his toys to be tripping hazards?)

3) Rinse the dishes after dinner and put them in the dishwasher. This one is so hard for me because I usually just want to veg out and watch The Walking Dead after dinner, but it’s a lot easier than trying to scrub the dishes the next morning.

4) Take the time to put things away properly, even if it goes upstairs. Trust me, the extra exercise won’t hurt you any.

Try the One Minute Rule in your life and see what happens. I bet you’ll find that it’s much easier to break down your efforts into the smallest tasks.

 

 

Easy Breezy Brad Earrings

Hello there, kittens!

I’m so sorry about my inability to write a fascinating and life-changing post last week. Unfortunately, I was forced to leave the freezing cold of home for a business trip in sunny California. And since I’m not a multi-tasker, I was forced to prioritze packing over blogging. Lucky for you I’m back this week with another quick and easy craft. You’re welcome.

I’ll be honest, over the years I’ve grown increasingly bored with fashion in general. Everything today just seems so far removed from my actual lifestyle that I typically just stick to my usual jeans and black knit sweater combo. I can appreciate the women that choose to confidently strap a piglet on their head and call it a hat, but it just isn’t practical for my day to day.

But I do still occasionally appreciate some adorable accessories. Especially if they’re inexpensive and I know that I won’t see 10 other women wearing the same thing as I walk down the street. Making your own jewelry is a sure-fire way to get something that is uniquely you (the inexpensive part is up to you….if you’ve ever gone to a Michael’s store you know…that shit can get pricey). One of my favorite ways to customize my look is to make these adorable brad earrings. They only take a few minutes and can be made for less than the earrings you used to buy at Claire’s boutique in 1995.

Supplies:

1 Hot Glue Gun w/ Glue

Earring Posts

Fabric or Epoxy Brads (find these in the scrapbooking section of your craft store)

Clippers or powerful scissors (I like the ones for jewelry-making)

Feb 08_Pic 1

I decided to go with a set that reminds me of old-school airlines in honor of my recent travels.

Feb 08_Pic 2

Step 1:

Clip the metal “brad” pieces off of your fabric brads. You’ll be left with just the cute fabric and a mostly flat back.

Feb 08_Pic 3

Step 2:

Put a dab of hot glue on your earring post and press it firmly into the center of the back of the brad.

Feb 08_Pic 4

And voila! You have some spunky earrings that evoke the same laid-back vibe as the vintage button ones that you can buy at craft fairs for 4 times the price. And did I mention that they make awesome gifts?

Feb 08_Pic 5

I love the mismatched look of this pair here:

Feb 08_Pic 6 Feb 08_Pic 7

Now I need your help. I have a ton of ideas for future craft posts. Please take this quick poll to let me know which posts you’d be most excited to read:

 

Rainy Day Craft – 2015 Memory Jar

There aren’t many things I love more than a lazy, rainy afternoon. There’s something about gloomy weather that makes me feel free to do nothing. Which is a good thing because I stayed up too late last night partying with friends. My always-awesome friend, Deb, cleared some time in her calendar to come over and help us host a Stella & Dot trunk show. (If you’re unfamiliar with Stella & Dot, do yourself a favor and head over to Deb’s page for instant inspiration….I’m obsessed with the rose gold Rebel pendant: http://www.stelladot.com/sites/debv/profile/?lc=en_us).

So after a fun evening of playing with jewelry, drinking pinot noir, and enjoying my lively crew, nothing could be better than a rainy day. Today is a perfect day for crafting, provided the craft is quick, easy and beautiful. Today I’ll be sharing a project that is all three. This easy Memory Jar is also a perfect project to do this time of year since it is a good way to capture great memories throughout 2015. I make one of these each year and stuff it full of notes, small objects or anything else that will remind me of the good times I experience over the coming months. My family then opens the jar and reads the notes on New Year’s Eve so we can revisit the great times that we had. This project takes 5-10 minutes tops and won’t break the bank.

Supplies:

1 Mason Jar

1 Page of Decorative Paper

1 Pen or Sharpie Marker

1 Pair of Scissors

1 Length of Twine (used here) or Ribbon

1 Glue Gun w/ Glue

Optional Supplies Used in Support of This Post: 1 Venti Chai Latte 1 iPod Full of Tori Amos Songs

First, gather all of your supplies.

Post3_Pic 1_Supplies

Next, cut your decorative paper to fit over the inner part of your mason jar lid. Write the year on the paper if you choose.

Post3_Pic2 Then, wrap the top of your glass jar with twine or ribbon as you wait for your glue gun to heat up.

Post3_Pic3 Next, add glue around the outer edge of the lid insert and attach the decorative paper circle and let it dry.

Post3_Pic4 That’s it! You now have a lovely jar for capturing all of those small moments that happen throughout the year. Fill it with notes, concert tickets, anything that is meaningful to you. Post3_Pic5 Post3_Pic6