Category Archives: Life lessons

Homemade taco/burrito seasoning, the perfect chocolate chip cookie, and low expectations

Today has been one of those days where I woke up tired and cranky. I talked to one of best friends and my cousin. Via text, but still, we connected, so you think that it would have been a great day. Especially considering that I try really hard to keep my expectations low. Or at least reasonable. Sometimes, it is so easy for me to get caught up in how things should be. The picture in my head of how things SHOULD go takes over every practical thought I have. Do you ever do that? Yeah well I do despite my best efforts to not do it! I have had this discussion before with y’all but I think it warrants revisiting. Because I think so many of us get caught up in what we think SHOULD be. Dr. Vicki Bowman, my beloved graduate school professor who was a wise gal beyond her years would call this “shoulding all over yourself.” And friends, it is easy to do. It can ruin the best of moments. That one word…should. Should is a lot like “fair” or the phrase “it’s not fair”. As a therapist I would be all over that phrase if a client said it. I would have to ask “what is fair?” Because let’s just face it. Life is not always fair. Somedays it seems it is not fair at all. As my friend Teresa says, the fair comes in October and they show pigs there. Oh so true. And yet, today, I got caught up in that evil word…should. Anyway, none of my plans for the day worked out. And ya know, I really don’t question that stuff. If it is part of God’s plan, I can roll with it. But sometimes it is the little stuff getting messed up that gets us. And that is where we find me today. My column for Red River Moms was due today. I got my stuff sent in to my editor and I wanted a new picture for my column. Most of the ones I have used have been fun spontaneous selfies of the kids and I. Like this one
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Cute enough but geez I have been doing this for a year, maybe it is time to get a real picture taken. No not professional, but a step up from selfie maybe? Yeah. So I get it in my head that we are going to get this done. BD was home for a little while and he was up for the task. I knew better than to get any high browed ideas about what kind of pictures I wanted. Just keep it simple, Aimee. Just get the kids in there and snap a few. No big deal. Oh yeah right. Once again, I shoulded all over myself. Dr. Vicki, God rest her soul, is somewhere shaking her head at me. I just know it. So I won’t go into any details, but needless to say, I set myself up for disappointment. I got all cocky and thought, we will do some staged pictures. We will have some fun with it. It will be so perfect. Wait. What? I have 4 kids and nothing is ever going to be perfect again. With so many people to factor in, perfection is even harder to attain then when I was childless. Curse me and my stupid high expectations. Cut to later, there was flour everywhere (don’t ask…I was making cookies and thought oh how fun…we will all bake cookies and he can capture that…yeah…), there were tears (mostly mine) and we had no useable pictures. Why? Because of the picture in my head of how things SHOULD have been. So we just said mission abort and everyone washed the flour off of themselves (again…don’t ask) and we were chilling. I was not dressed cute anymore. Makeup was gone. The kids were laying in our bed with me. I gave BD my phone and said “I have an idea. Go with it.” And low and behold…after all that, my original non complicated plan to get a picture worked just fine. Life lessons 1, Cajun mama 0. I will show y’all the pictures below. And I ended up getting those cookies baked and none of it is on camera. Just some delicious chocolate chip cookies. And expanding on the whole keeping it simple, not getting caught up in expectations, I made some nice simple burritos tonight. I had the ground meat defrosted but no seasoning. No problem. I found a recipe and made my own…original post is here…http://www.food.com/recipe/taco-seasoning-budget-friendly-seasoning-for-tacos-burritos-166030. Take that life lessons. I made cookies and my own taco/burrito seasoning and it just was. No expectations of what should be. It is what it is. It was what it was. We all survived. We got the pictures and had supper and dessert and maybe I took the long way home, but I did make it. I guess that is what counts. Now if only I can remember this lesson of letting go of what SHOULD be and letting it be what it will be, I will be a much happier mama all the time and world peace will be achieved. Well…I will settle for peace in our home. So, today, I have a recipe for the best chocolate chip cookies in the world (in my opinion) …link herehttp://m.allrecipes.com/recipe/10813/best-chocolate-chip-cookies and homemade taco/burrito seasoning. No matter what you start thinking life should be, having these two recipes in your arsenal will make what is so much easier to accept. Peace, love, and low expectations…AMB

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see simple can be beautiful

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me and my joy, my circus, my reason for living and losing my mind

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my favorite picture from today

Homemade taco/burrito seasoning</strong

makes enough for several batches

2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
1 1/2-2 tablespoons cumin
2 teaspoons oregano
1 1/2 tablespoons minced onion flakes or 1 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder (feel free to omit this)
Kosher salt (I added about 1 teaspoon but add more or less to your taste)

Mix all these spices together in a bowl. 7 teaspoons equals once of those store bought taco seasoning packets. So 7 teaspoons to one pound ground beef. Stir it into browned and drained ground meat and then add 3/4 cup water per pound of ground beef. Simmer over low heat until the liquid has evaporated. It is really perfect y’all!
Store the rest in an air tight storage container. This is how I did mine…

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airtight glad ware thank you so much!

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Mixing all of those spices together made me feel like a scientist

Perfect chocolate chip cookies (says me)

makes about 3 dozen cookies

Stuff you need
1 cup of butter, softened (that’s 2 sticks of the real stuff y’all)
1 cup of sugar (the white stuff)
1 cup of packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons HOT water
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups of flour
2 cups chocolate chips

What to do with the stuff~

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix hot water and baking soda together and set aside.
In a standing mixer, add softened butter, sugar and brown sugar. Cream together until well combined and smooth. Stir in vanilla. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add baking soda water mixture and salt. Beat until combined. Now, add flour one cup at a time. Next, add chocolate chips. Beat until combined.
Line a large baking sheet or cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat (they are awesome and totally worth the purchase. Amazon has great prices on them.)
Using a medium cookie scoop, place a scoops of cookie dough about 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes or until slightly golden on top. I bake mine in batches of 12 because that is how many my baking sheet fits. Let cool if your family will allow it and then set them out with some glasses of ice cold milk. Sure to make the stinkiest of days better!

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consistently delicious cookies every time! Enjoy!

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Kitchen chalkboard and simple reminders

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You would think I have too much to do to decorate a chalkboard in my kitchen. And yes recently I have let myself get caught up in that line of thinking. Hurry hurry get it done. I must add, I find this sad and rather unfortunate. BD and I made this chalkboard last year and I had great fun with it for a while. Then life started getting in the way. Because I let it and well…life is busy for us all. t’s crazy how we can let the monotony, the “I have to” and “I need to” get in the ways of the fun and the “I want to”. For the most part I am a realistic gal, so don’t go painting me as some pie in the sky optimist. I am not. I have 4 kids and a husband and stuff to get done, practically speaking, none of that leaves much room for fun. I want it to. But it doesn’t. And many days it’s all to easy to let my “get it done” nature get in the way of the fun girl I know lives inside of me.
I woke up this morning as a matter of fact, watching Lucas watch a video of them slip and sliding on the homemade slip and slide BD made for them. I heard their laughter and giggles and saw all 4 kids were participating. BD is really good at getting in the moment when it arises. I admire him for that. Even though he is the primary bread winner and has so much pressure at work and so much to do, he is really good at letting them be kids and enjoying it with them. Me…well I have my moments but usually the moments I create for them are well…moments I create for them. Under my control. But as I watched that video with Lucas, I realized I had not once gone outside and watched them slip and slide. Yes, we are only a week into summer so I won’t be too hard on myself. But the pangs of “that moment is gone” sadness were all I needed to remind me to be more present with them at least once a day. Yes, I have the stuff I need to get done and I choose to do those things (read laundry, dishes, cleaning, blogging) because it is how our house runs well and functions. It’s engrained in me to be that way and I like my chaos controlled. But those pangs I felt were the reminder I needed. It’s summer time, mama! Have fun! Let them be little and enjoy it with them from time to time! I am going to give myself a break here and be realistic and say…mommy guilt will not sweep me away. But as a mom, as a person, I want to enjoy my kids. My life. And sometimes being inside doing housework is not the way to do that. So a simple reminder to myself is all this is. This chalkboard I decorated, or summer chalkboard 2014 as I call it, was my way of stopping and saying “ok Amus (my nickname from my best friend Holly and apparently what I call myself when I am coaching myself lol). It’s summer. What do y’all want to enjoy about summer?” Take a breath and shift gears. Because summer passes and then it is fall. That’s ok too…but for today, for now, the season is summer. Welcome Summer and embrace it. So I did. Aubrey and I drew pictures and took the time to make it fun. And each morning this can be a simple reminder when I wake up and walk into the kitchen, to embrace the now. Enjoy it. A much needed reminder for an all to focused and one track minded mom.

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that’s right babies…show mama how to be in the moment. Thank God for kiddos and their amazing guidance

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a 10 year old builds a Lego house, you respect that Lego house. I take pictures of it and he allows it. But I know one day it won’t be so simple. Embracing the now. It’s good.