Taco Tuesday

Taco Tuesday is the best night of the week, right? And I’m talking about old school, ground meat, crunchy tacos and toppings – tacos (not fancy tacos like these pork carnitas tacos). Taco Tuesday is a crowd-pleaser in every family dinner schedule. We had tacos recently so I decided to finally share the recipe we use for our own taco seasoning.

taco-tuesdayA store bought seasoning packet is fine but they are full of SO much sodium, it’s ridiculous. And making your own taco seasoning is so quick, I bet you have most infredients in your spice cabinet/shelf/drawer. Here’s the mix I use, based on this recipe.

1 Tbs chili powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp garlic salt
pinch crushed red chili flakes

Mix spices and add to 1 lb cooked ground beef or turkey. Add 1/2C water and let simmer for 5 minutes.


Serve with your favorite toppings, here are ours! And no, I don’t have any photos of assembled tacos because I ate them too quickly… Now all I need are these taco holders to make taco Tuesday complete. Enjoy!

Summer Send-off


What a summer! This was one for the books for our little family. Nothing huge happened, just a whole lotta fun – beach days, pool days, dinners out, play dates, adventures with friends, vacations with cousins, sleepovers with cousins, a couple date nights, and ice cream – a decent amount of ice cream. Anyway, we usually send off the summer Labor Day weekend with more of the above, but not this weekend, I was plagued by the flu! The dead-of-winter, sore joints, headache-inducing, appetite suppressing, high fever causing flu. What a bummer. So we didn’t do much but by Sunday I was ok enough to venture out and do some peach picking and by Monday I was ready for a big ‘ol summer send-off dinner, after the kids ran through the sprinkler once last time of course.


We went for a southern theme of ribs, cole slaw (we used this recipe and added chopped tomatoes), corn….


and homemade peach cobbler for dessert (I used this recipe and added a cinnamon/sugar sprinkle on top before baking).


And it was awesome, just like our summer. I felt extra nostalgic this weekend, maybe I was delirious from the fever, but as much as I love LOVE the fall, I sure am sad to this summer end.

How to Cut A Watermelon

As summer comes to a close and we approach Labor Day Weekend, you must be acting like me and savoring every summer moment as you cram tons more summer activities in the next 2 weeks. That includes eating watermelon! I’ve been cutting my watermelon a special way all summer long that I finally snapped a few photos to finally share with you how to cut a watermelon. This is a particularly good way to serve watermelon to kids because it creates a bit of a handle for them AND allows them to eat most of what they’re holding with not much waste. I served watermelon this way at our recent flamingo party to rave reviews.


Cut your watermelon into rounds and then triangles, as you usually would. Then, make 4 cuts into the rind to create a little stump/handle.


It ends up resembling a little tree, right?


Makes for easy watermelon eating at the beach, enjoy this little trick!

A Better Fruit Salad


I got together with some mom friends last night and when I asked the hostess a couple days before the event what I could bring she mentioned fruit salad. Fruit is so fantastic in the summer that there is nothing better than a fruit salad. BUT! I hate when the juicy fruit makes the other fruit all soggy. And some people love kiwi (for example) and others just don’t. What to do?


I thought instead of the usual method of tossing a bunch of different kinds of fruit together in a bowl that instead, I’d assemble it by groups of fruit on a nice platter. I love the oval shape platter for this idea – I got the above stainless steel platter at Crate and Barrel years ago, here’s something similar. It would solve most of the soggy issue and then, if you don’t like a certain kind of fruit you don’t have to take it rather than scoop around it if it was in a fruit salad, right?


Once assembled I thought it was missing something so I sprinkled some lime rind on top for a pop pf color on the mostly red fruit platter.


Delish – enjoy!

7 Minute Snow Peas


Our CSA started up again at the beginning of the month and we’ve been loving all the super fresh veggies in our lives again. With the freshness (and therefore delicious-ness) of such fresh veggies we don’t like to do too much to them in terms of cooking and let the veggies shine through! Last week we got a little pint of snow peas and we knew just what to do with them. These 7 minute snow peas obviously cook quickly and are just so easy to make, too.


Dice about 1/4 of a red pepper and chop 1 or 2 cloves of garlic depending on your taste.


Heat about 1 teaspoon or 2 of oil in a skillet over medium high heat and add garlic when oil has heated up. Once you smell the garlic add the snow peas and red pepper in and cook for about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.


Serve warm. Your snow peas will be slightly crunchy and oh so flavorful – enjoy!

6 Ingredient Black Bean Salad


With hotter temps comes the desire to eat lighter food, right? And with that we are always searching for easy, delicious salads to eat for dinner that don’t involve pasta (even though I do love a good pasta salad). There are about a hundred versions of black bean and corn salads on Pinterest and after looking over a lot of them we came up with this 6 Ingredient Black Bean Salad that is so easy, light, and best of all totally delicious and satisfying. And don’t forget it’s only 6 ingredients (I didn’t count olive oil and s&p because those are kitchen staples, right) so you’ll be surprised at how easy to make this is and I’m sure this recipe will be on repeat in your house all summer long.

1 can black beans
1 1/2 cups corn
1 cup grape tomatoes cut into quarters
1/4 – 1/2 cup diced red onion
Juice of 1/2 a lime
Big handful of chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp olive oil


Once you’re done chopping ingredients, mix everything together. Serve room temp or chilled. Enjoy!

Anatomy of a Cheese Board


‘Tis the season for picnicking! If you’re like us, you will eat a lot of meals outdoors now that the weather is cooperating – from outdoor concerts, to picnic lunches, to playground snacks. One thing we love for these sort of occasions is a cheese board. And a well constructed cheese board is one of my very favorite things. In my opinion, the perfect cheese board should have at least 2 varieties of cheese (really 3 is best but that depends on how many people are dining), a salty meat, fruit, crackers and/or bread. Some people like olives too but since I’m the only olive-lover in our house I don’t put those on the cheese board.


I used to throw some things together on our large Boos Board until a friend of mine gave me a slate cheese board for Christmas and ooooh, how I had always wanted one! If you’ve ever been to a party at our house you know I’m pro labeling appetizers when we put them out so no one is guessing what anything is. So what is better than to put your cheese right on a board that you can write all over! The cheese board in these photos was for a naptime lunch for my husband and I. We had an herbed soft cheese and a semi-hard cheese with fig jam to top. I included a flavorful cracker and a more plain cracker for the herbed cheese. A tiny bit of salty salami and a generous pile of fresh strawberries.


By the way, if you get one, your slate board will probably come with chalk to use but I prefer one of these chalk board makers for a sharper look.

anatomy-of-a-cheese-plate-7 (2)

Happy cheese-ing!

Smiley Face Cookies


To cap off M’s first birthday (see his smiley face birthday party here), we brought some party decor and smiley face cookies to our usual Friday Baby Bootcamp class and celebrated with his tiny friends. We had a couple of balloons, some bubbles, a few stickers, and best of all – cookies! It would’ve been easiest to just decorate round cookies with icing to make a smiley face, but since we were at a park and celebrating with very young friends I thought it best to leave off the messy, sugary frosting, here’s how I made them instead…


I made my usual Martha Stewart sugar cookie recipe and cut into circles using a 3″ round cookie cutter.


Using a straw I cut eyes into the face and used a paring knife to make a smile.


Then I filled the eyes with chocolate sprinkles and pressed the sprinkles into the mouth shape and baked as directed.


Cutest smiley face cookies I’ve ever seen!

Homemade Cold Brew Coffee


Here is a little tale about coffee and eventually some directions on how to make your own cold brew coffee at home. I started drinking coffee after college and always liked it with skim milk and sugar. Skim milk because, well, less calories, sugar because coffee with skim milk is not very good so perhaps I should’ve started with cream in the first place. Anyway…story goes, I met a cute boy, we spent lots of time together and I started using his coffee creamer in my coffee. YUM! I was addicted. Then we started eating better and realized our beloved flavored, sugary creamer needed to go. And since then (like 5 years ago?) I’ve been at a loss with my coffee in the morning. For a while I was using a “whole” creamer made with just sugar and milk but then this past winter when I was doing a fitness contest with my local Baby Bootcamp franchise I decided it was time to eliminate sugar from my coffee (among other things) completely. But I hated coffee with just milk. So I tried almond milk (blech), coconut milk (yuck), and a bunch of other tricks (coconut oil, have you done this? Not a fan) until finally I landed on some cold brew coffee.


Cold brew coffee is simply mixing your coffee grounds with water and letting them sit for at least 12 to 24 hours in the refrigerator – hence “brewing” in the cold temperature. Cold brew coffee is naturally sweeter because of the lower acidity than regular brewed coffee. In truth, I dilute my cold brew with some of my daughter’s 1% milk (instead of my skim) so it’s a touch creamier and so, so delicious. And ps. cold brew has a slightly higher amount of caffeine, too!


To make you need: water, coarsely ground coffee beans, 2 pitchers (one for brewing and one for filtering), and a filter (we use a metal filter from an old coffee maker). Simply mix water and coffee grounds in a 4:1 ratio. You have to think ahead (sometimes we forget) because you want to leave the mixture in the fridge for about 12-24 hours (the longer you leave it the stronger it will be), but it’s worth it! Once you’re ready to drink, filter entire mixture through your filter. Dilute with water or milk.


Enjoy with your breakfast. Have you tried cold brew?

Finlandia Butter

I love toast – crunchy, warm and the best part? The butter. We’re always on the hunt for a good butter so I was psyched when Finlandia Imported Butter reached out to give theirs a try. You can find it locally in MA at Shaw’s in either unsalted or salted stick form. For baking we use unsalted but for things like toast? Salted all the way. Finlandia makes a delicious European butter made from milk from cows that live on small Finnish family farms and are never given any hormones.


And it’s so good. If you take the butter out of the fridge about a half an hour before using it, it warms up perfectly so it’s spreadable (and not hard as a rock!) on your toast or bread. I love that the only ingredients are pasteurized cream, salt, and milk. And the taste is super creamy with a slight salty taste. This butter tastes so delish I had to take a bite of my toast before I took a photo, ha. Let me know if you try Finlandia Imported Butter – enjoy!


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