Moments, Memories, and Simple Meals – Recipe: Crispy Beef Tacos

I am in denial.  School starts in just over 2 weeks, and I am not ready.  I love having my children at home with me.  I typically cry in the weeks leading up to school starting because I do not want the summer to end.  It is a huge adjustment for me.  But, they go to a great school with great teachers, and I am also crying in the weeks leading up to school ending because I have always loved their teachers.  Teachers hold a special place in my heart because they have my babies for 7 hours per day.  That is huge!  Having my children in school is definitely not something that I take lightly.  If it were not for our amazing school and the spectacular staff, I am not sure that I could do it.  But, I do, and, so far, it has always been a great experience for my children.  They make friends and create memories that will last a life-time.  And, that is a big part of life – learning, growing, and making memories.

For us, that is one of the great things about the summer.  We do not always do the big things.  We just try to do the little things that add up to the big things – lemonade stands, homemade popsicles, swimming, playing catch, watching movies, baking cookies, family gatherings.  I told someone once, “If you give a mom a moment, it is all about how she chooses to remember that moment, to create it into a memory.”  And, that is what I always try to do – to always create all of our summer moments into memories that my children will always cherish.

When we received Ethan’s food sensitivity study results, I honestly had to wrap my brain around how we could add new food and planning into our schedule.  It has been my goal for awhile now to make sure that I am more efficient so that I can get the little things done in less time so that I will not be rushing when it comes to the big, important things in my life – my children, my husband, my family.  I want to be fully present for all of those moments when we are creating memories, so present that even if I do not have a camera to capture the moment that it does not matter because the memory is a permanent picture/movie in my brain.  So, when I started menu planning and discovering things that we could add to our menu, I started realizing that some of the things that we can eat are still the simple, classic meals that my family loves.  Tacos are one of those meals – simple, fun, and good.

I know that this is so easy that anyone could put it together in 10 minutes, just as I do.  But, if you are struggling with a gluten and dairy free menu, I want to give a glimpse into how we still incorporate food, family, and fun.

Crispy Beef Tacos

Crispy Beef Tacos

I like to create a taco bar with all of our favorite toppings and allow everyone to choose whatever they want in their taco shells. It is an easy meal that can seriously be put together in 15 minutes.

Ingredients

1 pound ground beef

Taco seasoning - read the package carefully or create your own with paprika, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, salt

Beans - refried, black, or whatever you like best

Cheese - we use goat cheddar cheese

Plain goat yogurt - or you can use sour cream if food sensitivities are not a concern

Lettuce

Tomatoes

Salsa

Taco shells

Instructions

  1. Brown ground beef and drain the grease.
  2. Sprinkle on the taco seasoning or your own spices, and add 3/4 cup water.
  3. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 325.
  5. Place the taco shells on a baking sheet, and bake for 5-7 minutes.
  6. Set out all of the toppings and serve.
http://cookingformykids.com/2011/08/04/back-to-school-shopping/

Yes, I do realize that it is simple, but it is the simple that we often forget about when we are so busy that our heads are spinning.  Slowing down, taking it all in, and enjoying the moments is what life is all about.

For the Love of Produce – Recipe: Pico de Gallo

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We are in the process of getting ready for our next summer event, our annual family reunion.  We are lucky in that it is not technically out-of-town for us, but it still takes us away from our home for a few days.  So, all of the travel prep still needs to be done – clean house, buy groceries to take with us, wash sheets, pack. Yes, I clean house and wash sheets before we travel.  I like to come home to a clean, organized house so that I can start fresh with the unpacking, laundry, etc.

We get an added little bonus at the reunion this year.  My sweet sister-in-law is expecting a baby, my first nephew, so we are having a baby shower while we are there.  I am in charge of the dessert bar.  The desserts will not be gluten-free. But, I am baking special treats for my sweet gluten-free boy so that he will not miss out on anything.  And, since we are in this together, I will be joining him with the gluten-free sweets. I just now discovered Gluten-Free Girl last night, and I am so excited to try some of her treats.  I love her passion for food and for making sure that a gluten-free world is still a tasty one.

Today we went to several stores, one of which is one of my favorite places to buy produce.  It is a farmer’s market grocery store, and their produce prices are excellent.  We picked up a little bit of everything, mostly so that we would have fruit for breakfast and vegetables for our pizza night and some pico de gallo for snacking.

Since I am not preparing any new recipes today, I wanted to share the pico de gallo recipe that we love.  I am sure that this is a similar recipe to one that you prepare for your family.  It is a little spicy for the littles, but Sean and I love it.  Oddly enough…I do not like tomatoes….except in pico de gallo.

Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo

Serve with tortilla chips and watch it disappear.

Ingredients

4-5 tomatoes, finely chopped

1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped

1/3 cup onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped

1 lime

kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Chop the tomatoes and add to a bowl. I do not use the seeds or tomato pulp in my pico. As I noted above, I am not a fan of tomatoes, and I think that it is a texture thing. So, I just use the true meat of the tomato for the pico, and I chop the tomatoes very finely.
  2. Add the chopped jalapeno, onion, and cilantro.
  3. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 of the lime and then sprinkle with kosher salt.
  4. Gently mix together and taste. You can add more lime and/or kosher salt, as needed.
http://cookingformykids.com/2011/07/27/for-the-love-of-produce/

Enjoy!


Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Swap sponsored by Shenandoah Growers Organic Fresh Herbs.

 

Today’s Recipes – Beef Taquitos

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We had a yummy food day, and it made me excited to cook new food again.  While I realize that some of these recipes and menus are very simple, I still want to post them in case there are other people who find themselves in our situation and struggling with what to prepare for each meal.  I am posting my spaghetti sauce below.  It is incredibly simple, but I often get asked for the recipe.  So, I decided that simple is often good.

  • Breakfast – Banana slices, apple slices, and Sunbutter sunflower seed bread (we used this one and loved it)
  • Lunch – Beef, bean, and goat cheese taquitos, chips and salsa, and strawberries
  • Dinner – Spaghetti (gluten free) and meat sauce, lettuce salad, and fruit salad

Beef Taquitos

Beef Taquitos

Ingredients

Taco meat (prepared ahead of time)

Refried beans (prepared ahead of time)

Goat cheese

Corn tortillas

Cooking spray

Kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Cover baking pan with foil.
  2. Heat the corn tortillas in the microwave, working with 3 at a time. Place a damp cloth between each tortilla, and heat for 30 seconds. The damp cloth will add moisture to the tortillas and make them easier to fold without cracking.
  3. Add about 1 tablespoon of taco meat, 1 tablespoon of refried beans, and 1 tablespoon of cheese. Roll up as tight as you can, and place seam side down onto prepared pan.
  4. Keep rolling them up until you are out of ingredients or tortillas, whichever comes first.
  5. Spray with cooking spray and lightly sprinkle with kosher salt.
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
http://cookingformykids.com/2011/07/21/todays-recipes-spaghetti-and-taquitos/

Enjoy!