Sweet Potato Taco Packets

Yep you read that right. Sweet potatoes and taco all in the same title. So a few weeks ago I was looking for some new recipes to try for dinner and also looking for some more veggies and tada! I will admit that at first I was a little skeptical and then I started thinking that it didn’t really sound all that bad. With my thinking finally cleared, I decided to jump right in and try it out (The benefit of living alone is that if it is a disaster then no one else ever has to know about it!). Anyways, I went to the store and bought all of the ingredients and proceeded to tell my mom all about it! She promptly displayed her doubts, but I was not to be discouraged.

After my run last week a set to work peeling and cutting potatoes, and filling up my foil packets. I cooked the turkey meat and sprinkled it with taco seasoning. I cut up my potatoes and then sprinkled them with black beans and topped them with the turkey. I finished them off with tomato sauce and started baking. thirty minutes later, I opened one up, sprinkled on some cheese and a dollop of sour cream and dug in. My verdict – yummy! I took pics and then sent them to my mom who also decided she should try out this strange concoction. Her verdict – Yummy too. So here’s a pic and I’ll post the recipe that I used and also a link to the original below.

As for the price of this meal, it’s a wonderful thing to make if you’re on a budget. Here’s the breakdown of what I spent. For my black beans, I used up one that I had already cooked from a bag of dry beans so mine were cheaper, but I’ll price it approx. for canned beans. Also for the potatoes, I’m guessing on the price, but I’m going high so it might actually be cheaper at the store.

Sweet Potatoes (4) = 2.50

Black Beans           =    .75

Tomato Sauce       =   .75

Turkey                   =  4.50

Taco Seasoning    = .75

Total = 9.25 for at least 4 servings if not 5 so between 1.80 – 2.50 per serving

Sweet Potato Taco Packets

Adapted from Tasty Kitchen recipe

1 package of ground turkey

1 package of taco seasoning mix

Sweet potatoes

1 can black beans

1 can tomato sauce


Brown turkey meat in pan, drain fat, season with taco seasoning mix.

Cut up potatoes and put into foil packets, top with beans, turkey, and tomato sauce.

Close packets and put on cookie sheet, bake in oven for 20 – 30 minutes at 425 or until the potatoes are tender.

Sprinkle with cheese and sour cream and enjoy!



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Book Review

I just finished reading the book Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand and it was amazing. It was a non-fiction that read better than a lot of fiction stories. In fact, I had a hard time putting it down and read it in only a few days. I think I ran through every possible emotion from wanting to laugh to needing to cry. It’s a very polished story, yet it feels so raw, as if the main character himself is speaking to you. I would highly reccommend this book to anyone looking for a good read – difficult materiel yet amazing. It’s a story about loss and suffering, but also about redemption. I seriously cannot say enough good things about this book other than go pick it up and read it – you won’t regret doing so.

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Happy Birthday Oreo!

Oreo cookies actually turned 100 today! So in their honor I thought I would share a picture of my favorite dessert that I make using oreos. Yummy!

And here’s the links to a few other good Oreo desserts:

Chocolate Covered Oreo Cookie Cake

Oreo Truffles

Oreo Cheesecake Cookies

Cookies and Creme Cheesecake Cupcakes

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National Sweet Potato Day

In my news reading today I learned that Feb. 22 is National Sweet Potato Day. Since I hail from an area that grows great sweet potatoes (and myriad other varities of potatoes) I decided to share a fact from the article. If you want the other facts you’ll have to look up the Mobile Press Register to get them.

Here’s my favorite fact:

  • George Washington Carver helped to develop the primary adhesive used for postage stamps from the mucilage(sticky film) from sweet potatoes.

And here’s a little sweet potato quote or two:

  • What I say is that, if a fellow really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow.
    A. A. Milne
  • “A man who can cook a baked sweet potato is the kind of man you should keep around”~Maya Angelou 

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Stuffed Bell Peppers

Ok let’s hear for Real Simple for sharing another winning recipe! This was a super easy, relatively healthy, and not terribly expensive meal. I won’t go into to much detail except to say that you should definitely give this a try. My only reccommendation is making some easy homemade salsa to serve on top – there is something about a nice hot cooked meal with a nice refreshing cool twist! I’ll include my recipe for the salsa in a day or two. Here goes for the peppers:

Serves 4| Hands-On Time: 10m |Total Time: 1hr 20m



  1. Heat oven to 375° F. Cook the rice according to the package directions.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the scallion whites and beef and cook, breaking the beef up with a spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the corn, chilies, cumin, cooked rice, ½ cup of the Monterey Jack, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.
  3. Arrange the bell peppers, cut-side up, in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish or pan. Divide the beef mixture among the bell peppers, add ½ cup water to the dish, tightly cover the dish with foil, and bake until the bell peppers are soft, 30 to 40 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup of Monterey Jack, and bake until browned, 5 to 7 minutes more.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt and ¼ cup water. Drizzle over the bell peppers and top with the salsa and scallion greens.

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Reading Recap for 2011 and some goals for 2012

So back in January of 2011 I decided to write down every book that I read so that I could keep up with it for my own personal knowledge and gratification. Along the way I actually amazed myself with how much I was reading. In fact, at times it even got difficult to keep enough books on hand for myself to read. Anyways, I thought I’d recap what I’ve read and start fresh on my 2012 list. I’ve also put together some reading goals for this year, some of which are concrete and some of which are not. Here we go!

Number of books read = 64

Fiction books = 55

Non-fiction books = 9 (This is a lot higher than I expected! – My mother should be proud)

Shortest Book = Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo

Longest Book = I have no clue but none of them were short!

Least favorite book = A Man in Uniform by Kate Taylor

Favorite Book = Not sure but I really liked Lions of Lucerne by Brad Thor

Average books per week = 1.23 books

Any other questions about my 2011 reading?????

The 2011 list:

  1. London Refrain by Bodie and Brock Thoene
  2. Paris Encore by Bodie and Brock Thoene
  3. The Twelfth Imam by Joel Rosenberg
  4. Peace by Jeff Nesbitt
  5. The Gabon Virus by Paul McCusker and Walt Larimore, M.D.
  6. Luke’s Passage by Max Davis
  7. The Breaking Point by Karen Ball
  8. Don’t Look Back by Lynette Eason
  9. Term Limits by Vince Flynn
  10. Transfer of Power by Vince Flynn
  11. The Third Option by Vince Flynn
  12. Separation of Power by Vince Flynn
  13. Executive Power by Vince Flynn
  14. Memorial Day by Vince Flynn
  15. Life Support by Robert Whitlow
  16. Life Everlasting by Robert Whitlow
  17. Heaven if for real by Todd Burpo
  18. Surrendered and Untamed by Jason Clark
  19. Christy by Catherine
  20. Intervention by Terri Blackstock
  21. Pursuit of Justice by DiAnn Mills
  22. Fatal Judgment by Irene Hannon
  23. Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan by Del Quentin Wilber
  24. Leaving by Karen Kingsbury
  25. Consent to Kill by Vince Flynn
  26. Act of Treason by Vince Flynn
  27. Protect and Defend by Vince Flynn
  28. A Killer Among Us by Lynette Eason
  29. Extreme Measures by Vince Flynn
  30. The Clouds Roll Away by Sibella Giorello
  31. Pursuit of Honor by Vince Flynn
  32. In Sheep’s Clothing by Susan May Warren
  33. Sands of Time by Susan May Warren
  34. Swinging On A Star by Janice Thompson
  35. Lions of Lucerne by Brad Thor
  36. The Perfect Match by Susan May Warren
  37. Path of the Assassin by Brad Thor
  38. State of the Union by Brad Thor
  39. Blowback by Brad Thor
  40. Takedown by Brad Thor
  41. The First Commandment by Brad Thor
  42. The Last Patriot by Brad Thor
  43. The Apostle by Brad Thor
  44. Foreign Influence by Brad Thor
  45. The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks
  46. American Assassin by Vince Flynn
  47. The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan
  48. The Athena Project by Brad Thor
  49. Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond AKA The Pioneer Woman
  50. A Man in Uniform by Kate Taylor
  51. Those in Peril by Wilber Smith
  52. Gideon’s War by Howard Gordan
  53. Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell
  54. The Bedford Boys by Alex Kershaw
  55. Learning by Karen Kingsbury
  56. Full Black by Vince Flynn
  57. The Atonement Child by Francine Rivers
  58. Flags of our Fathers by James Bradley
  59. Ninth Witness by Bodie and Brock Thoene
  60. Tenth Stone by Bodie and Brock Thoene
  61. Lion of Babylon by David Bunn
  62. All In by Gene Chizik
  63. Dead or Alive by Tom Clancy
  64. Tehran Initiative by Joel Rosenberg

Reading Goals for 2012:

  1. Read 50 books – I lowered the number since I started a full time job!
  2. Read 6 non-fiction books – I think I’ll be upping this number since 2011 was much higher than I antipated!
  3. Read some classics and read the books on my shelf that I’ve never read

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Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

So this is another Real Simple winner recipe. It smells amazing, tastes amazing, and is super quick and easy to make. I tried it on two different lovely taste testers (if you ever read this thanks for being brave!) and both had good reactions to the meal. It’s just spicy enough to have a good flavor but not so spicy that you get miserable trying to eat dinner. I’ve cooked it on both settings, high and low and actually preffered the way the chicken came out when cooked on high for a little longer than the recipe requires. It just seemed to be more tender in my opinion. Also the cucumber/cilantro/lemon juice topping may sound strange but it really makes the meal. In fact I doubled the amount of cucumber that the recipe calls for, and if I had been feeding more than just 2 of us I would have actually wanted more.

Anyways, here’s the link to the recipe and a picture:

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Serves 4

Hands-on Time: 10m

Total Time: 8hr 10m


  • 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala (Indian spice blend)
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8)
  • 1/2 English cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup basmati or some other long-grain white rice
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


1. In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, tomato paste, garam masala, ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables, cover, and cook until the chicken is tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours (this will shorten total recipe time).

2. In a small bowl, toss the cucumber and cilantro with the lemon juice and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.

3. Twenty minutes before serving, cook the rice according to the package directions.

4. Just before serving, stir the cream into the chicken tikka masala. Serve over the rice with the cucumber relish.


Garam masala is a mixture of spices often used in Indian cooking. If you can’t find it in the spice aisle of your supermarket, you can make your own by combining ½ teaspoon cumin, ¼ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon coriander, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves, ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg, and a pinch of cayenne.

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