Simple Tacos

I am probably the blandest person you will ever meet when it comes to food. I can’t handle anything spicy (seriously, black pepper sets my mouth on fire) and I definitely am not adventurous. However, as I move through my twenties, I have learned to give things a try and keep my mind open when it comes to food.

I have expanded my horizons to so many different tastes these past few years, and I am really getting into food. I have never been one to truly enjoy eating. However, there are a few meals that I crave almost weekly and have truly perfected the way I prepare it for myself, friends and family.

Simple Tacos - Pearls and Polkadots

Simple Tacos - Pearls and Polkadots

I am not a food blogger, but in honor of ‘Cinco de Mayo!’, I thought I would share my simple and quick way that I prepare tacos – nothing unique or original, just my plain ol’ way of doing things. Also, who doesn’t love tacos…right?

Simple Tacos - Pearls and Polkadots

I grew up in a pretty normal household. However, when it came to spices, my family really didn’t season anything. We always would brown meat, cut up some tomatoes and lettuce, grate cheese and throw it all in a wrap. No spices. No seasoning. Nothing. You can imagine my surprise when I went off to university, had a taco night with my roommates and discovered that taco seasoning was a thing and kind of, you know, necessary for tacos.

Simple Tacos - Pearls and Polkadots

Simple Tacos - Pearls and Polkadots

This is one of my favourite meals to make. I make it at least twice a month – if not more. Now, it is not the most flavorful recipe…but it is just to my liking (spiciness-wise) and it certainly hits the spot.

Simple Tacos - Pearls and Polkadots

Simple Tacos - Pearls and Polkadots

Simple Tacos - Pearls and Polkadots

Simple Tacos

Not only is this recipe incredibly simple, but it is the most basic taco recipe you will ever use. Perfect for a quick, easy and fun dinner (seriously, no work needed). 

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Cinco de Mayo, Mexican, Taco Tuesday, Tacos
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

Taco Meat

  • 3 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 pkg. taco seasoning

Toppings

  • 1 tomato
  • 2-3 leaf romaine lettuce
  • 2 c. cheddar cheese shredded
  • 1 pkg. soft tortillas warmed

Instructions

Taco Meat

  1. Prepare the ground beef in a large fry pan, browning it as usual. Cook all the way through, and let simmer for 1-2 minutes. 

  2. Mix together the taco seasoning and water in a separate bowl. Combine completely. 

  3. Once the meat is browned thoroughly, pour the taco seasoning and water mixture into the fry pan. Coat the browned beef in the taco seasoning and water mixture and let sit. 

  4. Keep warm until ready to serve. 

Toppings

  1. Dice the tomato, strip the lettuce and grate the cheese. 

Recipe Notes

This recipe is simple and easy - makes for a quick preparation for a fun, Mexican night!

I hope I inspired you to make tacos, and maybe try spicing my recipe up a little (considering there are none in this one)! Let me know in the comments below how you prepare your favourite taco meal!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

23 Mouth-Watering Pictures of French Macarons

Okay, so I am deviating a tad from my usual fashion/style/outfit/clothing type post to bring you a post that is mainly photos. This could be because I was admiring the cutest little cafe in Toronto that I have never been to. Or it could be because I have had the largest craving for French macarons these past couple of weeks…

23 Mouth-Watering Pictures of French Macarons - Pearls and Polkadots

Nevertheless, in my procrastination, I found 23 beautiful, gorgeous, mouth-watering, to-die-for pictures of French macarons (which may just make you run right out to your favourite bakery – we all have one – to get yourself a few too many treats):

23 Mouth-Watering Pictures of French Macarons - Pearls and Polkadots

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23 Mouth-Watering Pictures of French Macarons - Pearls and Polkadots

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23 Mouth-Watering Pictures of French Macarons - Pearls and Polkadots

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23 Mouth-Watering Pictures of French Macarons - Pearls and Polkadots

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23 Mouth-Watering Pictures of French Macarons - Pearls and Polkadots

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23 Mouth-Watering Pictures of French Macarons - Pearls and Polkadots

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23 Mouth-Watering Pictures of French Macarons - Pearls and Polkadots

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23 Mouth-Watering Pictures of French Macarons - Pearls and Polkadots

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23 Mouth-Watering Pictures of French Macarons - Pearls and Polkadots

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23 Mouth-Watering Pictures of French Macarons - Pearls and Polkadots

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23 Mouth-Watering Pictures of French Macarons - Pearls and Polkadots

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23 Mouth-Watering Pictures of French Macarons - Pearls and Polkadots

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23 Mouth-Watering Pictures of French Macarons - Pearls and Polkadots

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23 Mouth-Watering Pictures of French Macarons - Pearls and Polkadots

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23 Mouth-Watering Pictures of French Macarons - Pearls and Polkadots

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23 Mouth-Watering Pictures of French Macarons - Pearls and Polkadots

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23 Mouth-Watering Pictures of French Macarons - Pearls and Polkadots

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23 Mouth-Watering Pictures of French Macarons - Pearls and Polkadots

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23 Mouth-Watering Pictures of French Macarons - Pearls and Polkadots

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23 Mouth-Watering Pictures of French Macarons - Pearls and Polkadots

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23 Mouth-Watering Pictures of French Macarons - Pearls and Polkadots

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23 Mouth-Watering Pictures of French Macarons - Pearls and Polkadots

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23 Mouth-Watering Pictures of French Macarons - Pearls and Polkadots

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French macarons are almost too pretty to eat…but seeing them (and eating them) always makes me happy! So there you go – your daily dose of macaron fun!

Enjoy the French Macarons!

Eating Dessert First with Cacao 70

A couple of weeks ago, I had the fabulous opportunity to meet up with some Toronto blogging gals, Kristin of Sincerely KP and Gunjan of Songbird Echoes to indulge in some truly amazing desserts. If you have yet to visit Cacao 70 dessert bistro in the Distillery District…you need to make a reservation now because it’s is pretty much to die for!

Eating Dessert First with Cacao 70 - Pearls and Polkadots

We chose to dine on some marshmallows roasted over the personal mini fire (loved that!), strawberries and fondu with a side of brownies, and of course the grand finale: grilled marshmallow pizza with a side of banana split waffles! Needless to say…we left happy, full and satisfied (everything you want in a dessert bar!)

Eating Dessert First with Cacao 70 - Pearls and Polkadots

Eating Dessert First with Cacao 70 - Pearls and Polkadots

Meeting these ladies was so wonderful!  I loved learning more about where they’ve come from, why they got in to blogging and just hearing about all of their plans for the future! Blogger meet ups are SO much fun and I’m making it a goal to connect more with my fellow girl bosses so that we can all really make great connections!

Eating Dessert First with Cacao 70 - Pearls and Polkadots

Eating Dessert First with Cacao 70 - Pearls and Polkadots

Left to Right: Me, Kristin, Gunjan

Spending the evening sipping hot chocolate, lattes, roasting marshmallows and most importantly laughing was a great way to spend a Wednesday night. Needless to say, I will definitely be revisiting this location full of yummies.

Eating Dessert First with Cacao 70 - Pearls and Polkadots

The location the girls and I dined at is spacious, and tucked away – perfect for close and intimate conversation. Ian, our server, was helpful, amazing and could tell us everything about the menu. He even put up with our humming and hawing over all the delicious looking options (how do you choose just one thing!?).

Cacao 70 is located in the Distillery District in Toronto and has one brand new location located at 485 Queen Street West – make sure you put that on your summer bucket list for 2016!!

Are you a chocolate fiend, like me? Make sure you check out Cacao 70…you will not regret it!

Homemade Beef Burgers

I’m stepping out of my comfort zone today and bringing to you an experience I had a few weekends ago. My very first try at homemade beef burgers! When it comes to cooking, I am not the greatest, but with the help of my housemate and best friend, we cooked up some real good beef!

This is the year that I really started getting into cooking and baking. When you have someone helping you who knows what they’re doing and you have access to hundreds of Tasty and Buzzfeed Food videos…it’s easy to get inspired.

Homemade Beef Burgers - Pearls and Polkadots

I am a huge meat lover. I really never gave homemade burgers a second thought. Being a student, I usually opted for the Happy Meal at McDonalds, or everybody’s favourite…the frozen patties from Costco. Well, my mind sure did change after kneading the beef, combining a mixture of savory spices – simply amazing.

Ingredients

For the patties… 

1/2 lb. of ground beef

1 egg

1 pinch of ground pepper

1 pinch of desired seasoning

1 pinch of salt

A dash of cayenne pepper (add to liking)

1/2 clove of garlic (or pinch of garlic powder)

1 c. of shredded cheese

For everything else… 

Various vegetables (tomatoes, red onion, pickles)

2 large hamburger buns

Desired condiments (ketchup, mustard, relish)


 

Preparation

Going to the grocery store, buying the ingredients, and prepping the burgers to cook took all around about two hours. Most of that time was spent gathering the ingredients.

  • In a large mixing bowl, put the ground beef for the patties along with one egg. Mix and knead well.
  • Add garlic, ground pepper, cayenne pepper (as well as any other seasonings you wish to add to your patties) and knead well.
  • Divide the mixture in half, lightly shaping the half into a pattie (Note: DO NOT pack together hard – the beef will not cook as well). Do this again with the other half of the beef.
  • Place on a plate, cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for 20-25 minutes.

Once we got home, we broke out the meat, put it in a mixing bowl, added one egg and all of the spices except the salt. After searching and watching lots of different videos (linked below), we found that adding salt into the mix dries out the meat.Homemade Beef Burgers - Pearls and Polkadots

Once the meat was mixed up, we stuck it in the fridge with some cling wrap over the top to let the meat get nice and cold. This was a trick we picked up from this video. It helps to keep the patties’ shape and conserve all of the spices! While those were sitting in the fridge, we cut up the toppings of the burger – tomatoes, cheese, avocado, and onions – as well as made our side salad!

Homemade Beef Burgers - Pearls and Polkadots

Homemade Beef Burgers - Pearls and Polkadots

Cooking the Beef!

Since we are living in a student house, we don’t have access to the finest of cooking tools (a.k.a. no grill), so we used a pan! While the patties were chilling, we heated up the pan.

  • After the patties have been in the fridge, take them out and season with salt.
  • Place each patty on the pan – seasoned side down. While cooking, season the face side up patty.

We placed the patties directly on the seasoned side and let it cook for approximately 15 minutes – watching to see it cook all the way through the face down side.

Homemade Beef Burgers - Pearls and Polkadots

Look at the juicy beef!

Once we could see the beef had cooked about half way to the middle, we flipped the burger over, and let it cook for another 15 minutes until we saw that it had cooked all the way through to the other side! Letting it cook a few extra minutes, we tossed on some cheddar and mozzarella and let it melt all over the two patties – yummy!


 

Side Salad: 

The side salad was an added bonus that my house mate made. Together, she mixed up some diced cucumber, tomatoes, onions and added balsamic, garlic and avocados with a light topping of salt! It was delicious. It was super easy to make and tasted delicious with the burgers!

Homemade Beef Burgers - Pearls and Polkadots


The Final Results

Making something from scratch just tastes so much better when you get around to eating it. Making our own patties was well worth the prep time and I must say, that packed pattie was the most delicious burger! As a side, we added the above salad mentioned, as well as some yummy baked crinkle-cut fries! Yum, yum, yum!!

Homemade Beef Burgers - Pearls and Polkadots

Homemade Beef Burgers - Pearls and Polkadots

Give this a try and let me know what you think! Bon Appetit!

My Monday Glow Routine

Since being apart of the amazing blogging community, I have been able to connect with so many different types of bloggers. The community that you get welcomed into when you start up your blog is overwhelmingly amazing and I can’t say enough great things about it! After all, we all are here to support and motivate each other to produce great content, keep our blogs alive and strive to reach our goals! That very community led me to this opportunity that I am going to tell you about today…

My Monday Glow Routine - Pearls and Polkadots

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What is Monday Glow?

Monday Glow is a one-day eating plan that is made to make you glow all through Monday. We can get a little crazy on the weekends with parties, entertainment…or even simply getting extra-buttery popcorn at the movie theatre! In fact, the weekends are when I indulge without thinking the most (because who doesn’t want to eat ice cream for dinner while watching Magic Mike XXL?).

My Monday Glow Routine - Pearls and Polkadots

Where did it all begin?

Through #stylecollective (a blogger support network), I met Annie & Cat from Collective Passions – two sisters whose goals are to touch those through beauty, food, fashion and style. I was feeling a little down near the end of 2015, thinking about my New Year’s resolutions, and wanting to make a change to my lifestyle. However, diets are so not my thing (I like chocolate too much!). When Annie told me about this one-day plan, I jumped at the chance to give it a try! Why not? You can read more about what prompted Annie and Cat to come up with Monday Glow here.

My Monday Glow Routine - Pearls and Polkadots

The Monday Glow Routine allows for healthy and delicious items in your one-day meal plan.


My Thoughts

Included in the Monday Glow ebook is your very own set of “Glow Journal” questions. This set of questions is designed to help keep you motivated and on track throughout the day. By recording your thoughts after each meal, it forces you to reflect on what you liked, what you didn’t like and how you are feeling. That way, you can look back and pick out which meals worked and maybe ideas that can make your next Monday Glow routine even better!!

I LOVED the Monday Glow journal! Which is why today, I am going to share mine with you:

My Monday Glow Routine - Pearls and Polkadots

Monday Morning

Thoughts about starting this program and how you’re feeling.

“I am so excited to try this program! When Annie & Cat shared their stories, I completely identified and because it is 2016, why not make a change? I started my day with the ‘Get Up & Glow Eggs’, accompanied by some coffee and instantly felt ready to go for the day! For a mid morning snack, I munched on my homemade ‘Protein Glow Bar’ with some tea and blueberries on the side!”

Monday Afternoon

You’re on your way to becoming a Glow babe! What are you thinking after a few of the meals?

“Surprisingly…I love quinoa! I have never had it before, but putting it in a salad tasted awesome! YUM! I accompanied the ‘Beauty Bowl’ with water and lemon. I feel so great, refreshed and full – I really thought I would be starving with just a salad for lunch, but I am not hungry at all!”

Monday Night

Almost done, pretty lady! Do you feel like you’re glowing? 

“I had a momentary ‘I NEED SWEETS!’  thought, half way through night class, but instead, I opted for finishing up the last of my ‘Sunset Smoothie’ and some yummy strawberries! Keeping it healthy was the better choice, and even though chocolate was literally screaming my name (seriously, I have chocolate sitting in my bedside table drawer…), strawberries are equally as delicious!”


The Aftermath

After doing the one-day plan, I really felt energized, awake and ready to go for the week. I truly did feel like I was glowing. Which is why I took my favourite recipes and incorporated them into my daily meals for the rest of the week! The ‘Protein Glow Bar’, the ‘Sunset Smoothie’ and the ‘Beauty Bowl’ were just some of my absolute go-to meals for the rest of the week.

My Monday Glow Routine - Pearls and Polkadots

I would have to say that my favourite recipe was the ‘Sunset Smoothie’. Quick, simple and worry-free, I prepared one each day for dinner and took it with me to night class. Sipping on that throughout the evening kept me full and satisfied so I didn’t feel the need to buy something out of a vending machine half way through the lecture.

Plus: Recommended by Annie & Cat, I purchased this cute and stylish ‘Blender Bottle’ on Amazon…it is the best water bottle/smoothie bottle I have every had! (click here to get one of your own!)

My Monday Glow Routine - Pearls and Polkadots

Staying connected with my fellow ‘Glow Babes’ was important to me. When it comes to eating plans, diets or any other regiments, I tend to need support and motivation. Annie & Cat were there with me every step of the way from before my Monday Glow routine began, and throughout the entire week following! We stayed in touch through email, and the Monday Glow Babes Facebook group.

My Monday Glow Routine - Pearls and Polkadots

This is an especially great group because every gal in the group is going through the same things you are! They are making the same recipes, following the same Monday routine and even better, each babe has a different take on their plan. The conversation is flowing about what everyone is doing throughout your Monday routine – what to do to make this better, or what is great to to additionally…it’s an amazing network.

Final Words

The Monday Glow fit my way of life. It meant that I didn’t have to drastically change my diet completely, remove carbs or dairy – it’s one day per week. It acts as a reset for your body after an indulgent weekend. The most important part is that I did not feel restricted. I was not counting calories, or measuring my intake of transfat…I was simply having yummy meals that were good for meThat is why I would recommend it to friends to try.

My Monday Glow Routine - Pearls and Polkadots

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Go check out the plan for yourself at Collective Passions…you will not regret it!

My Monday Glow Routine - Pearls and Polkadots

Happy Monday Glow, babes!