Why Tacos on Tuesday are a Necessity (Even if it’s Not Tuesday)

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The minute my head snuggles down into my pillow each night, I am out. Practically unconscious. There are times when my hubs is watching SportsCenter on the TV, my kids and the dog are hanging out on my bed, and there I lay sound asleep with my eye shades on and my earplugs in. Most days, I’m running with the dial toward exhaustion so I sleep hard. However, it’s a good exhaustion. A welcome exhaustion.

I often tell my kids that just because you love to do something and you really want to do that “thing”, it doesn’t mean it will be easy. There will still be a learning curve as new tasks appear. You will still have to work hard. Some days it will be exhausting but you keep going because in the end, the hard work fuels your love for that “thing” even more. Because of your hard work, you build confidence. You experience tangible results and you want to keep going.

Those of you who have read my posts for any length of time know that my hard work extends to anything surrounding writing and photography — especially, the project of publishing a book as well as a few unforeseen projects I’ve delightfully picked up along the way.

I find that when I throw myself into a project with an actual deadline…some things fall out of the cart and tumble off into Neverland. I didn’t spend my usual amount of time at the Oregon Coast this summer. I find myself working most weekends and evenings. Sometimes I forget to shower — for a few days. I just finished acquiring all of the requested school supplies for my kiddos — here in the third week of school. Any resemblance of an exercise routine has not been seen around these parts in at least six months (maybe more?) and because of that my annual brassiere fitting did not go down the same way it usually does.

This summer, after my Slavic brassiere fitting woman wrote down my measurements, I questioned her, “Are you sure? Because usually I’m the next size down.”

She shrugged and said to me in her heavy accent, “Thees eez vat happens ven vee git older.”

I asked, “What? What happens?”

She grabbed both straps on the back of my brassiere, snapped them hard, jostled the front cups and said, “Vee git beeeger.”

So, there’s that.

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And probably the most challenging issue has been keeping up with the dinner routine in the manner to which my family is accustomed. Which is why I say Tacos on Tuesdays are a necessity — along with picking a dish for all the other days of the week and implementing a 7-day rotating dinner plan. Complainers get cereal. Sometimes there simply isn’t time to sit down and write out a meal plan filled with new and exotic dinners. Soup on Sunday, Tacos on Tuesday and Fish Sticks on Friday is as good as it gets. And hey, that’s pretty good.

So yes, every Tuesday (including today) my family gets tacos. I do take pains to use the best ingredients I can find and afford. I use my own mix of spices instead of the grocery store spice packet that gives my hubs heartburn. And I usually double the filling recipe and use it over the course of the next few days in varying forms: mixed in with brown rice and salsa and put in a thermos for school lunches, spooned on top of a bed of lettuce for a taco salad, or for the exact same dinner a few days later.

I love that I can leave the filling covered on the stove over low-low heat, put out all the toppings on the counter, and let my family grab their own dinner before heading out to a game or upon getting home from practice late, or what have you.

When I don’t have to micromanage the dinnertime routine, I can take those few extra ounces of energy and put them toward the projects I love doing even if they tire me out. And yes, it’s a good tired.

I’m curious, what are your tried-and-true, make-over-and-over dinners? I always love me some dinnertime inspiration!!

Much love,
Carrie

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NOTE: Not everyone is on-board with the work ethic philosophy I’ve laid out in the above post. My co-worker is not happy that we’ve been working on weekends. He also told me he plans to file a complaint with HR since he is not consistently getting his government mandated 30-minute morning walk and evening walk.

Tacos on Tuesday
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Course: dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Author:
The quantities in this recipe are so flexible. If you want to use all turkey instead of ground beef, go for it. If you want all beef instead of turkey, that’s good too. You like pinto beans instead of black beans? Cool. The only toppings you have on hand are wilted lettuce and jarred salsa? Fantastic. You want more cumin? Hurray! I tend to put out both flour and corn tortillas since I have a kiddo who should not eat gluten and other kiddos who are gluten lovers. For the corn tortillas, I heat up my cast iron skillet over medium-low, and set out a ramekin of olive oil with a brush. Those eating corn tortillas brush both sides with the olive oil and lightly brown the tortilla in the skillet for about a minute or two on each side. For the flour tortilla eaters, I point them toward the microwave for heating.
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 smallish yellow onion, diced, about 1½ cups
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 pound ground white turkey meat
  • 1 pound organic, grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (about 10 cracks of a pepper grinder)
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
  • Pinch or two of dried red pepper flakes
  • 2 15-ounce cans black bean, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • ½ cup water
  • Additional salt and pepper, if needed
  • Corn tortillas and flour tortillas
  • Toppings: Grated cheese, diced tomatoes, chopped romaine lettuce, salsa, sour cream, avocado slices, cilantro, and hot sauce
Instructions
  1. Heat your olive oil in a large skillet/pan. Add in your onions and sauté until soft and translucent about 6-8 minutes. Add your garlic and sauté one minute more. Next, stir in your turkey and ground beef and brown over medium heat. Use a spatula to break up the meat into smaller pieces. Stir often. (If using high-quality beef, you should not need to drain fat after browning but if necessary, drain fat before adding spices.) After breaking the meat into smaller bits, stir in your spices: salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, and red pepper flakes.
  2. Once the meat is fully browned, stir in your black beans, corn and water. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15-30 minutes depending on how much time you have. If it appears the filling is getting dry but is not done simmering, add in more water. Taste for seasoning. Add more salt and pepper, if necessary.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, have people spoon the filling into their tortilla of choice, add on the toppings, and voilà, dinner is served. Enjoy!