The Lexingtonienne


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Have you heard of the nesting instinct? It’s the urge you get while pregnant to feather your nest, so to speak, and it’s fantastic. You get all kinds of stuff done while under the influence of the nesting instinct. Garages get cleaned out, drawers get reorganized, and multiple donations to Goodwill are made. The clock is ticking down to baby, and mama wants to be prepared. In short, reproductive = verrrry productive.

We only have a few weeks to go till Baby #2, and — thanks to my nesting brain and Hubba Bubba’s accommodating brawn — all the big things are done. Nursery is set up. Infant equipment is out of storage and ready to use. Newborn clothes and diapers are in the drawers prepped to go. Hospital bag is packed. And Cousin Kate arrives in a week (Three cheers for Kate!) to help care for the Big Sister in this time of transition.

Eleanora 28 months

With the biggest tasks completed — but the nesting instinct still in full swing — I’ve moved on to smaller orders of business. I’ve dusted every surface in this entire house — from hard-toeach corners of the baseboards to the tops of the kitchen cabinets. I’ve taken every item out of the refrigerator and freezer and completely sanitized the interior. I’ve frozen bolognese sauce (pdf) for a future dinner. And I have even done THIS:

Spice Cabinet

That’s my spice cabinet. It’s alphabetized now. And with a newly-organized rack of spices, I thought I’d give this homemade taco seasoning a try.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

I’ve seen the recipe circulating the interwebs for a few months now. It’s basically a healthier (i.e. MSG-less, preservative-free, and way lower sodium) alternative to the taco seasoning packets you buy at the grocery store.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Mix it up in advance and you’re all set for another Easiest Dinner Ever. Just brown a package of ground beef or turkey in a skillet, add 2-3 Tablespoons of this seasoning along with 3/4 Cup of liquid (water, chicken broth, or even beer), and simmer it until most of the liquid has cooked out. Spoon the mixture into tortillas and top with lettuce, shredded cheese, and some salsa and you have some seriously simple, even-better-than-Taco-Bell tacos. Yumma.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Adapted from Rachel Cooks

  • 2 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 TBSP ground cumin
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground oregano

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container.


  • 1 lb (approx) lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1 TBSP canola oil
  • 2-3 TBSP taco seasoning (or 1 store-bought taco seasoning packet, such as Lawry’s brand)
  • 3/4 C water, chicken broth, or beer
  • tortillas
  • shredded cheese
  • lettuce
  • salsa and/or hot sauce (such as Cholula or Tabasco)

Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add canola oil, then ground meat. Cook until thoroughly browned. Drain off any excess fat. (This generally is not necessary with lean meat.) Stir in taco seasoning, then add liquid. Bring liquid to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered until most of the liquid has cooked out.

Spoon mixture into tortillas and top with cheese, lettuce, and salsa.


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