Thursday, November 15, 2012

Recipe Experiment: Taco Seasoning

I have a confession: I love beef. Like really  really love it. It's rare that I eat meat other than beef, thus I'm always looking for new things to do with it. That being said, I thought I would share one of my quick go to dinner recipes: TACOS!!!!!!!!! (Or taco salad at our house)

There was a LONG period where I didn't eat tacos because I couldn't find taco seasoning from a grocery store that I would even consider consuming. I took me a few months to find a recipe that I actually liked and then tweak it until it was perfect. My inspiration recipe came the Food Renegade blog, the recipe as posted I found to be a little bland for my taste but it was a great place to start. This recipe works with beef, poultry or pork, it's just that awesome.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Per pound of meat, mix the following spices:
2 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp  onion powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp smoke paprika
3 tsp ground cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. Mix together all spices except salt and pepper; set aside. 
  2. Season meat with salt and pepper; brown
  3. Pour taco seasoning over browned meat, stir. 
  4. Add 1 1/4 cup to 1 1/2 cup of water per pound of meat; cover and simmer until reduced. Stir occasionally.
The amount of time that you allow the meat to simmer and reduce depends on your personal preferences (how much sauce you like). When I'm making meat for taco salad I leave a lot of sauce because it's the most awesome "dressing" but when I'm making tacos I don't like lots of sauce because I make a huge mess. 

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. We eat taco salad at once a week (sad I know). I'm currently perfecting homemade fruit snack. EXCITING!

Until next time, 

PS: Look at Tres.........he's SO cute!

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Move

This moving experience has been A LOT more than I originally assumed. We're almost completely unpacked. The last part of the house that needs works is my office/craft area. It currently looks like this:

I've gotten almost everything sorted, just have to find a home for all of it. Please bear with me a few more days. I'm hoping to have everything put away by the end of week.

Until next time...........

Friday, August 3, 2012

Cloth Diapering: Our Setup


If you read my last post you know that I was pregnant with my first child. Tres was born June 22 at 8:55pm. He weighed 7 lbs 14 oz and was 20 inches long.

He has been a great addition to our lives. I thought I would take some time to write out my experience with cloth diapering. Long before I ever got pregnant I decided that when I had children they would be cloth diapered, my husband wasn't sold on the cloth diapering at first but he has come around.

Making the decision to cloth diaper isn't a simple one, it is definitely more than just saying "I'm going to cloth diaper". That is a great start but you have to decide things such as :what kind of cloth diapers you are going to use, whether to use a diaper service or not, what kind of detergent to use, how many diapers to buy, etc. When it comes to cloth diapering execution is very individualized, what works well for me might not work well for you and that's ok. I'm hoping by explaining our setup and how we decided upon this setup we will be able to help someone decide to cloth diaper their children. Remember: Cloth diapering is best for your baby and the environment.

Our Setup
Our current cloth diapering setup consists of 36 prefolds, 8 covers and 26 cloth wipes.

When I was deciding which cloth diapers I was going to be using I considered 4 things

  • Cost
  • Ease of use
  • Construction materials
  • Laundry options
As far as cost is concerned, to me one of the many advantages to cloth diapering is saving money. The price of cloth diapers can vary greatly, it just depends on what you choose. I chose unbleached prefolds from Green Mountain Diapers, based on my research these are the best prefolds on the market. Green Mountain prefolds come in sizes, we decided to skip the newborn size and go directly to small. The small size is suppose to fit babies 10-15 lbs. I had a feeling that Tres would be about 8 lbs at birth and I was fine with the prefolds being a little  big for a couple of weeks. The small prefolds from Green Mountain Diapers are $28/dozen.

Prefolds require some sort of diaper cover, there is no getting around that. I knew that I didn't want to have to have four or five sets of diaper covers, so I was looking for covers that could be grow with my baby. I ended up deciding on Thirsties Duo Wrap. These covers come in two sizes, size 1 is for babies 6-18lbs and size 2 is 18-40 lbs. The covers come in great patterns and colors but even better they are only $12.75 each and are available for free 2 day shipping if you have an Amazon Prime account (which everyone should have, it's awesome). The duo wrap comes in snaps or velcro, I chose snaps because while researching I found that babies learn to open the velcro and take the diapers off. That's not something that I ever want to experience. 

I made my own cloth wipes. My wipes are 10x10 squares made from two pieces of flannel. I bought 4 yards of flannel to make the wipes from Joann's, with a 50% off coupon the fabric only cost me $13. I have found that 26 wipes are not enough. I'm going to make a tutorial on making the cloth wipes once we get moved and unpacked.

Lastly would be laundry options. I knew that I didn't want to use a diaper service because I am very particular about how my laundry is done and what products are used. I found that the type of detergent used on cloth diapers is very important because it is possible for the diapers to loose their absorbency if the wrong detergent is used. I'm lucky enough to have a cloth diaper store close to me and they have a great website. One of the sections in the information section which includes detergents they recommend and washing instructions. I chose to use Tiny Bubbles detergent because it is not scented. (I hate the artificial scents that are used in cleaning products. If you're a person that like scents I believe Rockin' Green has a lot of options to choose from) I will admit that Tiny Bubbles is a little pricey but I was able to buy the 6 pack from Amazon which saved me almost $30.

We also have two diaper pail liners, 3 snappis and a diaper pail. To date we've spent just under $300. In the future we will have to purchase bigger prefolds and covers. As of right now I believe I am going to 3 dozen medium and 3 dozen x-large prefolds as well as 8 size two covers, so I anticipate spending another $300. I don't think that $600 is bad. 

Laundry is extremely simple. We received diaper sprayer as a gift. Sometimes we use it..........sometimes we don't. The poop of breastfed babies is water soluble so it is not a big deal that we don't spray the poop off in advance. We literally just throw all the diapers, wipes and the pail liner in the washer together with hot water and everything but the covers go in the dryer. That's it! Easy peasy. 

Here's a recent picture of Tres in one of his diapers:

Until next time,

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Grind Your Own Meat!!!!! 70% of Ground Meat at Supermarkets Contain "Pink Slime"

I was reading blog posts today in my Google Reader and came across this post from Backyard Farming. The cut and dry of it is that 70% of ground meat sold at supermarkets contains "pink slime". Pink slime is basically trimming that would usually be used for pet food that has been sprayed with ammonia to make it "safe" for eating. What's safe about eating meat sprayed with ammonia? I would think that is something that a person would do if they're trying to kill someone. See the video below if you don't believe me.

What's the solution? Grind your own meat. It's not hard and it doesn't require expensive equipment. I've been saying to myself that I was going to grind my own meat for a long time, well the time is now. Alton Brown did an excellent tutorial on his show Good Eats about using a hand grinder (he was making pork sausage but it's the same technique), which I found on Youtube. Please view the clip, the part about grinding meat start at the 5 minute mark.

I found the exact grinder that he's using in his video on Amazon and it's only $35. I will be ordering one as soon as I finish this blog post. You can also "grind" meat in the food processor if you have one, it's not going to be as fine of a texture but it will get the job done. 

Pass the word!

Until next time, 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Cleaning Periodic Table

I'm back...............

So if you read my last blog post, which admittedly was a while ago, you already know that I'm pregnant with my first child and have been super busy. Aside from being pregnant (which is a roller coaster ride) and mentally preparing for labor, I am also running a business, doing tax returns, looking for a house to buy and finishing grad school. So while I've thought about all the projects that I could be doing, I've had neither the energy nor motivation to actually do one. I recently decided that I need to get more organized before the baby is born and while perusing the internet for ideas I came across an article which spoke about a periodic table of clean that was made by Real Simple Magazine. My first thoughts were "this is awesome", the problem was I couldn't find it online. Apparently Real Simple removed the chart from its website. After a lot of digging I finally found a copy online and while it was awesome, it didn't quite fit my needs. So I decided to make my own. 

This is the periodic table of cleaning that works for me. I'm sure that there's something different that works for you. I uploaded the Excel file that I used to make my periodic table to my Google Docs, if you click on the upcoming link you can download the file and change it what fits you. Click here if you would like to make your own chart.

Happy cleaning and organizing!

Until next time, 

P.S. I have lots of fun and easy baby projects coming up!