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More Salad Please – Simple Spicy Taco Salad

Posted by on Mar 1, 2013 in Recipes, Salad, Welcome | Comments Off on More Salad Please – Simple Spicy Taco Salad

Lately I’ve been loving anything with a little heat. Not the kind of heat that says, “I can’t eat you because you are way to hot” but just the right heat that says “Flavor!” I came up with this tasty creation earlier this week and it was a hit in our house. And if it’s hubby approved, its approved for the blog. :) He’s a great taste tester and truly a huge helping in creating recipes with me. I believe it’s a recipe that will have you saying, “More salad please!



More Salad Please - Simple Spicy Taco Salad
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6-8
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cups black beans
  • 2 gloves garlic, minced
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ⅛ teaspoon red pepper flake
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup peas
  • ¼ cup extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups salsa, divided
  • ½ cup of crushed tortilla chips (optional)(I used: The Better Chip Brand Jalapeno Flavor)
  • Red Leaf lettuce
  • Spinach
  1. In a large skillet, on medium heat, cook ground beef and onion together.
  2. When ground beef is cooked through and the onions are translucent, add garlic, black beans, cayenne, red pepper flake, salt, pepper, peas ¼ cup salsa and cheese and warm through, then set to the side.
  3. Add a handful or two of each spinach and red leaf lettuce to plate.
  4. Top with ½ cup meat mixture, ¼ cup salsa and top with tortilla chips.
  5. May serve warm or cold.
  6. Enjoy

Salad not your thing, no worries, this recipe is great as tacos or burritos.

What are your favorite things to top on your salad? Do you have any salad dressing combos you’d like to share? I’m all ears for ideas! Please share in the comments. 

Sharing today at Foodie Friends, Real Food Wednesdays, The Better Mom and Tasty Tuesday.


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2013 Homemade List

Posted by on Jan 9, 2013 in Welcome | Comments Off on 2013 Homemade List

Making homemade condiments, sides and cultured dairy are a few things I’ve been wanting to learn how to make over the past year. This year I set out to write a list that was manageable and accomplishable.

I want to take this year of 2013 to advance in areas of homemaking because first and foremost it is something I absolutely love! I usually get paid in thank you’s, smiles and kisses but they are the best reward at the end of the day.

For me, it is time well spent to make food for my family. But it is time I have to be in control of to make happen. So before I share my list, I want to give you a couple of tips for making your own list and accomplishing your list.

#1. What do you want to gain wisdom in this year when it comes to being in the kitchen?

Maybe it’s freezer cooking or making meals a head of time. Maybe you are switching to a whole food diet and requires learning to make things from scratch. Either way, think of  5 to 7 things you want to learn and start drafting a list.

#2. Use the internet and books to help. 

There are tons of tutorials, You Tube videos and even online classes that can help you grow in any area you want. Go to the library and find books on the topic you want to learn. Maybe you want to spend the year learning how to make cheese. There are some needed supplies but learning 6 recipes for making aged cheese might be a great way to learn something new!

#3. Ask your family what they’d like you to learn? 

I think this is a great idea to get your family involved. They might cherish the  food you prepare more or even want to help you! Which is a great way to spend family time together.

#4. Keep the list simple.

Aim to do one recipe a month or one recipe every two months. Everyone has different schedules so do what works best for you!

#5. Pen in the time to do it!

At the beginning of the month, pick the item off your list that you want to make. Then on your calendar, write in the day or week you plan on working and completing your recipe. Tell your time what to do!

As I wrap up this little post, the most important thing about this list is not to just have a to-do list, it is to have a purpose to advance forward in knowledge and have fun along the way!

Okay, you ready to get started? Here’s my list and then go get a pen and piece of paper!



Photo Credit

Each month I will share how my homemade item turned out, so stay tuned!

What homemade items will you make this year?

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My Goal List for 2013

Posted by on Jan 4, 2013 in Welcome | Comments Off on My Goal List for 2013

Hi sweet friends!  How are you all doing this lovely Friday? I’m very excited to share with you my goals for 2013. The goals I’m going to share with you today are areas that I want to grow in each area of my priorities, but are specific to the kitchen. I’m sure you don’t want to read all about how how I want to develop a routine for exercising 5  days a week. Therefore, I am going to keep my goals specific to what I mainly write about here at Simply My Kitchen.

Why do I think goal setting is important? 

I believe that setting goals  helps me have balance and direction for what I want to accomplish.  It isn’t just a check in the box. It’s a developing progress to gain knowledge, wisdom, skills, and most important building meaningful relationships.

How often will I review my goals? 

Weekly, worked well last year. This year I’m taking the same approach.  Every week, on Sunday, I will look at what was accomplished, identify where I could improve or what clearly needs to be removed from the list.

What is my goal for you? 

Today as you read my goals, I hope that it will inspire you to set goals for yourself. Goals that will help you accomplish everything you are about. If you want to read more about goal setting please read these resources: here and here.

Will I share my progress with you?  

Absolutely! At the end of every month, I’ll give a recap of what we’ve been able to accomplish. I say “we” because my little family is just as important to helping me reach my goals.

smart goal setting concept

Have a wonderful day friends! Here our my goals for 2013


  • Light a candle daily to be a reminder of God’s light in our life. Every time I see I want to pray for my family.
  • Play music in the kitchen during waking hours
  • Have daily morning devotions at the dining room table. Reading through the Story Book Bible, The Beginners Bible and Proverbs


  • Complete my 2013 homemade list (I”ll be sharing you all next week!)
  • Keep fresh flowers on the table often
  • Read all the books on my book list 


  • Continue planning meals around what my husband loves
  • Prepare an in home date night meal once a month


  • Teach Little Buddy to mix, pour and stir when prepping meals
  • Let him help with clean up: clearing the table, rinsing dishes, helping put dishes into dish washer, cleaning counters, cleaning up messes on floors, and sweeping. (Lots of supervision and guidance in this area, he is only two.) :)
  • Teach him colors, shapes, textures, and scents when grocery shopping

Kitchen/Home Management

  • Create a family cookbook to make meal planning easier
  • Develop a routine to prep meals ahead of time (i.e. lunches, freezer cooking, snacks, ect.)
  • Develop a cleaning schedule for oven, cabinets, refrigerator and freezer


  • Switch to organic non-gmo white whole wheat flour
  • Look into buying produce locally
  • Analyze cost of organic non-gmo pantry items online for connivence and cost effectiveness to maintain current grocery budget
  • Look into buying meat locally
  • Plant 4 vegetables

Friends/Family/ Community

  • Have friends over for dinner at least 2 times a month
  • Continue having dinner as a family at the dining room table
  • Be aware to of friends, neighbors and those around us who may need a meal. I want at least 3 go to meals available in my house at all times to be able to give when needed.


  • Maintain current grocery budget
  • Continue to give to others through meals and needed items

What do you want to accomplish in 2013? What are your goals? Please share, I’d love to hear all about it! 

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History of the Candy Cane

Posted by on Dec 13, 2012 in Welcome | 2 comments

In our Christmas gifts to our friends we have included the story of the candy cane. It’s a sweet story and today I wanted to share it with you all.

Photo Credit

The History of the Candy Cane by Laura Witcher Goldstein

One of the most often seen symbols of Christmas is the candy cane. Not only are candy canes used as a sweet Christmastime treat but they are also used for decoration. How did this seasonal candy get its familiar shape, and when did it become part of Christmas tradition?

When the practice of using Christmas trees to celebrate Christmas became popular in Europe the people there began making decorations for their trees. Many of the decorations were food itemsincluding cookies and candy. The predecesor of our modern candy cane appeared at about this time in the seventeenth century. These were straight, white sticks of sugar candy.

Part of the Christmas celebration at the Cologne Cathedral were pagents of living creches. In about 1670 the choirmaster there had sticks of candy bent into the shape of a shepherd’s crook and passed them out to children who attended the ceremonies. This became a popular tradition, and eventually the practice of passing out the sugar canes at living creche ceremonies spread throughout Europe.

The use of candy canes on Christmas trees made its way to America by the 1800’s, however during this time they were still pure white. They are represented this way on Christmas cards made before 1900, and it is not until the early 20th century that they appear with their familiar red stripes. Today candy canes along with toerh sugars and fats that come with Christmas food have become a huge industry; along with the diet industry like theMedifast diet that comes after Christmas.

Many people have given religious meaning to the shape and form of the candy cane. It is said that its shape is like the letter “J” in Jesus’ name. It is also in the shape of the shepherds’ crook, symbolic of how Jesus, like the “Good Shepherd” watches over his children like little lambs. It is a hard candy, solid like a “rock”, the foundation of the Church. The flavor of peppermint is similar to another member of the mint family, hyssop. In the Old Testament hyssop was used for purification and sacrifice, and this is said to symbolize the purity of Jesus and the sacrifice he made.

Some say the white of the candy cane represents the purity of Jesus and his virgin birth. The bold red stripe represents God’s love. The three fine stripes are said by some to represent the Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Others say they represent the blood spilled at the beating Jesus received at the hands of the Roman soldiers.

From its plain early beginnings to its familiar shape and color of today, the candy cane is a symbol of Christmas and a reminder of the meaning of the holiday.

Have a fabulous day friends!

(The original source of this story can be viewed here.)

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Heros – Remember September 11, 2001

Posted by on Sep 11, 2012 in Welcome | 2 comments

A few weeks ago we had an opportunity to go to Pennsylvania to visit some family friends.  While we were there, we were able to visit the Flight 93 Memorial.

I’ll keep this post very short and share just a few pictures from our visit.  Even though I didn’t know anyone on that flight, as I heard the stories the ranger shared about the families, it touched my heart. I can’t imagine loosing a family member so tragically! It reminded me how precious life is.  I want to try harder to not take my family or friends for granted. Especially phone calls from my family!  You never know when the last time you talk to them will be.  My heart goes out to all the families who lost their loved ones that day.  They are forever heros!


May your unfailing love be my comfort… Psalm 119:76




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Favorite Things Friday ~ Love Lasagna Again!

Posted by on Sep 7, 2012 in Welcome | 2 comments

Yay! It’s Friday! I don’t know why but my weeks just fly by! Does that happen to you also?

My friend Danielle started this new series about her favorite things.  To kick off her series she started with a kitchen pantry item. This morning as I write a quick post to share with you, I decided I’d share one of my own favorite kitchen items I discovered recently!

Barilla Oven Ready Lasagne

Photo Source 

Lately, I’ve been making more pasta dishes. My friend Kristan is my inspiration because she enjoys her family tradition every Sunday with Pasta. To tell you the truth I haven’t always liked making lasagna because it take quite a bit of time.

I’m not sure how long Barilla has had this on the market but it’s genius! All you have to do is assemble your lasagna and call it done! I used the recipe on the back of the box but I made my own ricotta and marinara. It is our new family favorite.

I also did a cost comparison making it myself and it came to $5.25 for a pan of lasagna or 65 cents per serving. Pretty inexpensive compared to store bought lasagna.  I think there are a few ways I can lower the price too by using coupons to buy the pasta and using less cheese. But who would want to use less cheese?!

Well friends, have a fabulous weekend and I’ll see you on Monday!

Have you used Barilla’s Oven Ready Lasagne? Also please share your favorite kitchen items!  



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