Saturday, January 31, 2015

Winter Weeknight Taco Soup

It's been a wonderful Saturday with slightly warmer weather and just enough sun shining to refresh the soul!  We went to the movie theater to see Paddington as a family at the early bird showing, and we had a great time together.  What a cute movie!!  Nowadays I'm can be a critic when it comes to kids movies, but we thought this one was just darling!  The kids laughed through it all... We all did!  Going to the movies is a big deal we all get excited for, and I think especially on a winter day it's a great way to stay cozy and have fun being out together!

Right now it's that "crunch time" of the day as I work to get our dinner of pan seared salmon and spiced rice on the table as Mr. Cozy and our son work in the leaves and trimming bushes outside.  He wants to help his daddy anyway he can, and even at 4 years old he can be a really good little helper!  I'm so proud of them both! ( The yard work is another step closer to getting our house ready to sell!). So as I write, I'm juggling cooking, (writing this post), playing babies with my daughter in the kitchen and helping her put on dress up clothes.  (She is so stinkin cute when she pretends!)  This is the controlled chaos that lends to not being a good blogger, nonetheless I am here to share some delicious taco soup this evening. :)

You'll find this is a very easy recipe to put together and simmer away on a cold and blustery winter's day! 

(Yep, that was sing-songy.)

Taco soup is similar to a hearty Tex-Mex style chili and is amazing eaten with corn chips or cornbread.  This night I made Trader Joe's pumpkin cornbread...

So. Good. 

I hope y'all will continue to give me grace as I intermently blog in this season of life with little bitties underfoot as we're about to make a big move in a few months.  Please do your family a favor and make this easy taco soup, because I think you're going to love it!  Let me know what you think.

Taco Soup
Serves 4-6

1 lb. ground sirloin 
1 onion, diced
3 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained and rinsed
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
1 1/2 c. Water (more to thin out if needed)
1 small can diced green chilies 
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
1 pkg. ranch style dressing
Salt & pepper to taste

Brown meat and onion in a skillet.  Drain off any extra grease.  Stir in beans, corn, tomatoes, tomato sauce, water chili seasoning and ranch seasoning and salt and pepper.  Stir together and bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer med-low heat for another 30 minutes. Taste for any additional salt or pepper before serving.

Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream or diced avocado and corn chips.  

This recipe would also be great cooked in a crock pot after browning the meat.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The Best is Yet to Come!

We are halfway through January, and I'm so very happy to say that we've had more sunshine around here than clouds so far!  If it's not snowing, I want the sun to be gleaming through the house even if the temps are plunging outside. I almost always have a fire in the fireplace or candles going and something hot to drink.  Those are some of the lovely things about winter!  

Today is another gorgeous day, a bit warmer outside, and the kids and I just got home from a short trip to the mall.  This is a rare occasion for the three of us to go to the mall together, but I felt adventurous and we needed to get out of the house for a change of pace.  I had heard the sales were great and they were!  It was a good time with the kids, and I even snagged a couple of great deals at Gap plus I had a gift card so I really came our on top. If you don't already know, I'm quite the bargain shopper!  I don't mind digging for a deal at consignments, thrift stores, yard sales and places like TJ Maxx.  It's so fun for me!  When I find really great clearances items in the mall I'm thrilled, too.  Usually this time of year it's picked over, but I love the cable knit sweater and long sleeve striped t-shirt I found!  Yay:)

My sweet little rascals are asleep now (well, one of them...) in their naps, and I'm thoroughly enjoying a moment with a cup of spiced chai tea--I steep it in milk-- and a piece of gingerbread cake!  (Tazo and Trader Joes.) 

My feet are up and I'm relaxing for a little while.  Awwww, this is nice! 

It's been BUSY around here these days, if you didn't notice I haven't blogged in a long while!  This year is our "big year" we've kept on the shelf all the while waiting and praying for!  We're moving this summer back to our hometown after 7 years of living away for Heath's med school and residency!  Sometime in March we're putting our house on the market, so that's where this busyness comes in to play. There is so much to be done first before we can sell our house!  This is our first home to sell, and we want to do it the right way so it won't sit for months and months.  Our realtor came with her interior decorator the first week of January to look over our home, and they recommended several things to get our home in it's best condition.  They had so many wonderful ideas I wish we would've utilized earlier!  We are painting, sprucing up, de cluttering, organizing, deep-deep cleaning, redecorating and rearranging our entire house over the next few weeks!  It's a lot to do, but in only a week and a half we've accomplished so much already, and I have to say our home is looking better than ever!!   Just last night Heath hung a gorgeous chandelier in our stairwell.  This stairwell was DARK before, almost giving a creep vibe, but now it's bright and inviting!  He has proved to be a real handy man!  

It's bitter-sweet to sell our charming cottage home since it was our first house to buy and we brought home our children here, but I'm praying the right person will buy it and love it as much as us!  There are original details that are so beautiful in this home that you just can't find anymore.  Thick mouldings, original hardwoods, glass door knobs, two fireplaces both flanked with built in shelves.  It was built in 1945 and has the cozy charm that comes with that time period... Its so me!  But we're thrilled to move back close to our family again, and I know we'll find the right home for us there, too.  It'll be great being near our parents now that we have children who miss them so much!  I downright need my mama some days, and being so far away isn't always easy.  I guess we will never outgrow our parent's hugs or meals in their kitchen.  I want our kids to grow up in their homes and around their love, too!!  It will be hard to believe that our long-time friends and family will be only a short distance to visit instead of an overnight trip.  I can already imagine making dinners and having them in our new home!
I feel that God is really directing us through this process of getting ready to sell our home.  I have prayed about this for a long time, that He would give us wisdom on even the details and peace in the process.  It's feels like a lot to tackle with my little ones at home all the time, but we're figuring it out!

I had better get back to my snack before the kids awake since I have more laundry to do, of course! ;)

I hope you'll stay tuned for more of our selling, buying, and moving journey. And yes... I still cook a lot, I just need to let you in on the recipes.

Like this easy taco soup!

Happy New Year to you all, my friends!  I'm believing God that this year is going to be one of our family's best yet!!!