Just Like Goober

A working suburban mom, a curious baby boy, and a whole lotta life

Make Your Own Qdoba/Chipotle January 25, 2012

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This one helps to address To-Do List items #5 (Make dinner from scratch 2x/wk), #23 (Try a new recipe once a week), and #24 (Bring my lunch to work 95% of the time). I love, seriously LOVE, eating at Qdoba and Chipotle. I’m not too picky about which one, but I love the concept: fresh ingredients, quick meal, no fries. If they had an indoor playground for my kid, I’d probably eat there 5 days a week. Which would be no good for my wallet and probably not for that ass shelf I’ve been growing these days. Recently I’ve seen several recipes on Pinterest claiming to replicate that Tex-Mex goodness. Last night I decided to try it myself to see how it compared. I chose to make tacos since I already had corn tortillas, but you can create any of the dishes, tacos, burritos, nachos, etc, with the basic ingredients. Just change your platform (chips, tortillas, taco shells) to change your meal!

First: the chicken. If I would have thought about this prior to 4 pm yesterday, I would have defrosted some chicken or thrown some chicken into the crockpot. Unfortunately most of my dinner ideas occur to me at the last minute. So on the way home I picked up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. I know this sort of cancels out the “dinner from scratch” idea, but I did save all the bones to use for stock, so I think that restores me to good standing. I simply shredded the chicken when I got home and threw the bones/carcass (nasty word) into a zipper freezer bag to make chicken stock some other day. Chicken done.

After reviewing several recipes for the cilantro lime rice, I ended up just winging it. I make all my rice in a rice cooker because rice is one of two dishes that always fails for me (the other is pancakes). I threw 1.5 cups of rice into the rice cooker, added the water as specified by my cooker, and turned it on. I used brown rice because it’s all I had. I do wish I had white rice because I think it would have been fluffier, but it was good enough. Once the rice cooker finished doing it’s thing, I threw in about 2 tablespoons of butter to moisten the rice (I don’t think this would be necessary if I had used white rice), a bunch of cilantro leaves and squeezed in the juice of a small lime. Rice done.

While my rice was cooking I opened a can of black beans and a can of diced chiles and heated them together in a small sauce pan. I smashed a couple of the black beans with a fork to make it a little more saucy. Beans done.

Other toppings I put out: shredded cheese, sliced avocado, salsa and sour cream. I heated the corn tortillas by heating a small omelet pan on the stove and then placing each tortilla in the pan for about 30 seconds on each side. You want them to get warm enough that they become flexible, but don’t leave in so long that they start to dry and harden. Dinner done.

I made Goober a regular burrito bowl with out the tortilla since he doesn’t quite grasp the taco concept and Hubby and I each had 3 tacos. I had enough leftovers for a burrito bowl lunch today and there is still some shredded chicken in the fridge.

The verdict: Really really good. It was an easy meal, not a lot of prep work, very filling, and much cheaper than going to the actual restaurant. This will definitely be a repeat meal in our house!


Pinterest Challenge! November 2, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Merrsidotes @ 10:47 am


With all of my super Halloween crafting this year, I’m so excited to actually link up with The (unofficial) Pinterest Challenge, brought to us by the lovely and fabulous Sherry and Katie. I linked up my BOO Pumpkins, because they were my favorite part of my Halloween decor this year, and because it’s my most recent Pinterest creation. Technically, I didn’t create them in the week between the challenge being issued and me linking up, but since I did about five Pin recreations in the two weeks prior to the challenge, I think it should count 😀

Go check out their creations, along with those of Ana and Erin, and while you’re looking at those, take a gander at the creations of all the linkers like me. I have a feeling I’m about to add a ton more Pins to my To Do list.

Happy Pinning!


Monday Pinning October 24, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Merrsidotes @ 11:46 am
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Happy Monday everyone! Did you have a nice weekend? I had a lovely weekend. Saturday was my birthday, and while I’m not too thrilled about aging, I love birthdays! My husband and I don’t usually do big gifts, mostly because we’re always broke, but this year he got creative and got me two things. The first was practical, a new set of everyday drinking glasses since we’ve broken about 80% of the glasses we got for our wedding. He picked up a set of 12 pint glasses, which are much heavier and durable than our previous choices. I like them. My second gift was disguised as a box from the Gap, but was actually a small slip of paper from Sappington Shoe Repair. That little slip informed me that the 5 pairs of broken, worn down shoes I’ve been holding onto for upwards of 5 years have been FINALLY taken to the cobbler for fixing and will be returned to me this coming Friday, good as new! This is probably the best gift ever. I’ve been telling myself, and him, that I would take these shoes to the repair shop for ages. I’m notoriously hard on shoes, so I generally render them unwearable in a relatively short amount of time. As it’s usually just a heel cap or something easy like that, I don’t want to throw my cute shoes away, but I obviously kept forgetting to do something with them. Now, come Friday, I’m going to have 5 good as new pairs of shoes to wear! YAY!

Sunday I finished some Halloween projects and finally took pictures of all my Halloween crafting and decorating. So today’s Monday Pinning theme will be named after my newest Pinterest board, From Pin to Reality!

So, first, as I tutorialized here, I made the hanging ghost lights. I found these cuties at That’s What Che Said and had pinned them to make for myself.

After making another batch last night, my porch ghosts now look like this:

Yay for symmetry!

Another pin that I recreated for my own is also from Thats What Che Said. Behold, my witch hats!

For the full tutorial, check out on Cheryl’s very helpful instructions.

Next up is a Pin that I loved from Sassy Sanctuary for a darling Halloween fabric wreath. I used the same fabric that I bought for my Halloween Banner and whipped this guy up one Saturday night.

My final project I did yesterday was pinned from OhHowPosh.com and was so compelling that it inspired my big bush removal project. The inspiration?

The final re-creation?

I think it’s pretty awesome. I’m debating whether or not to add the exclamation point that is shown in the original inspiration. Any thoughts?

So that is it for my recreations of my favorite Halloween pins. I’ll be back tomorrow (or maybe the next day) with the full run down of my Halloween decor, which I think is done for the year. Whew!


Monday Pinning October 3, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Merrsidotes @ 10:07 am
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Finally- October is here! October is my favorite month for so many reasons: It’s fall and usually that means the St. Louis heat & humidity finally take a leave of absence. It’s the month I got married (October 6) and it’s the month we moved into our house (October 6, two years later). It’s the month I found out I was pregnant with Goober (October 15). It’s the month of my birth (October 22). And of course, it’s the month of Halloween!

I’ve never been much of a holiday decorator, especially for the minor holidays (i.e., other than Christmas.) It seemed a little pointless in my tiny apartments where no one ever visited. That’s not to say I don’t have friends, but rather friends and I would usually meet out somewhere, to get out of our cheap tiny apartments. I wanted to have cute holiday decorations, but those cost money, I’d have to store them, and it just didn’t seem worth it before Hubby and I had a house.

When we bought our house, I was completely planning on decorating for all the holidays. We moved into our house on October 6, found out we were pregnant just over a week later, and I was freshly zapped out of energy by the time Halloween 2009 rolled around. In 2010, I got a couple Halloween decorations out inside my house, but it was nothing special. It was around the time Goober stopped sleeping again, and I was just trying to survive. Also, I discovered after I dropped mucho $$$ at a local pumpkin patch, that the giant box hedges in front of my porch blocked out any hope of jack-o-lanterns, my favorite Halloween decoration. BOO! This year, it’s on like Donkey Kong. Those bushes are no longer a problem (more on that later). Goober is old enough to at least notice my decor.

I’m one of those crotchety old people who shakes their fist at the retail stores when they put out holiday decorations way far in advance of the actual holiday. Christmas in October, Valentines on December 26, Halloween before Labor Day! GAH. Drives me nuts. My Pinterest home page tells me I’m in the minority here, as Halloween decor ideas have been flooding in for weeks. I’ve been carefully putting each one aside on my Halloween Pinboard, biding my time until my self-imposed October 1st deadline passed before letting myself consider decorating. Now that we’re there, I’m so ready to crack out some of these amazing, adorable Halloween decorations!

Photo courtesy of http://thatswhatchesaid.net

First up: These adorable DIY Ghost Lights from my beloved Cheryl. Made from cheesecloth and ModPodge, these little cuties seem simple enough for me to try my hand. I’d really love to hang them on my front porch, but I’m worried that they might not handle inclimate weather well. We’ll see.

I’ve said it before, I need more wreaths! I’m not ashamed to say that this wreath is just another excuse to trek over to our new Joanne Fabrics location that recently opened near our house. That place is like HEAVEN.

Image courtesy of http://bhg.com

Umm, how cute is this little guy? Answer: SO FLIPPIN’ CUTE! It’s a pumpkin, it’s a mummy, it’s a multi-tasking Halloween decoration!

Image courtesy of http://wildinkpress.com

Glitter. Pumpkins. GLITTER PUMPKINS!!! Need I say more?

Image courtesy of http://thatswhatchesaid.net

These adorable witch hats belong on my mantel ASAP. Oh, I guess that means another trip to Joanne Fabrics.. Darn!

In the edible decoration category, we have this glorious cake. With three different sets of grandparents clammering to see Goober in his costume, last year I decided that they can all come to my house and I set out a big pot of chili with all the fixins. I think this will complement that meal nicely, don’t you?

This is just a sampling of the brilliant Halloween ideas that OTHER PEOPLE have. To see more of OTHER PEOPLE’s ideas, you can check out my Halloween Pinboard.

Do you have an awesome Halloween idea? Link to it in the comments! My Halloween decorating needs all the help it can get!


Monday Pinning September 26, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Merrsidotes @ 10:56 am
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Or: I went to South Carolina and all I got was some sweet crap from IKEA!

That’s right. I spent 5 days in South Carolina and brought back nothing but a t-shirt, however with less than 24 hours in Atlanta, I managed to jam $150 worth of IKEA into our already over filled rental car. If you know anything about IKEA, you know that you can score a major haul with $150! In my defense, St. Louis is over 4 hours away from the nearest IKEA, and my last visit was the last time I visited our Georgian relatives, over 5 years ago! This is sad for multiple reasons. Today’s pins will reflect some of my recent purchases, plus a little poetic waxing over the beauty that is IKEA.

Image courtesy of ikea.com

Image courtesy of ikea.com

Unfortunately I did not get to purchase actual sofas from IKEA. That would have a been a little problematic as far as driving them home with our Intermediate sized rental car. No, our second-best option was to purchase ourselves some lovely slip covers! We found that the Ektorp is designed pretty similarly to our own furniture at home. I’ve been researching slip covers for some time, and even thought about sewing my own, but with these costing $39 for the loveseat and $49 for the sofa, it was far more economical to let IKEA do it for me. The other drawback to these slipcovers was that white was the only color at these prices. If we wanted another color, the price about tripled. Still a good price, but too rich for our budget. I can handle white though, once I get some Scotch Guard, and it’ll give me a clean palette on which to play with accent pillows.

Image courtesy of ikea.com

This is the Grundtal wall rack, and it is hanging on a Grundtal rail. I bought several of these rails 5 years ago on our last trip to IKEA, along with some Bygel baskets. These have been very handy in our kitchen for holding a variety of items. Lately I have really wanted to get our iPod docking station off the kitchen counter, but it never fit in any of the baskets we owned. Enter Grundtal Wall Rack. I grabbed this last week and it is perfect to get the docking station up on the wall and out  of my way!

Image courtesy of ikea.com

These may look like plain old S-hooks, but they are not. Oh no, my friends, these are MAGIC hooks! When used in combination with a Grundtal rail these little hooks will hold: your aprons, your car keys, your sunglasses, your potato masher, multiple sizes of whisks (which looks OH SO CUTE hanging up by ascending size), your big ass barbeque tools that don’t fit in your utensil drawer, and anything else your little heart desires. I already have 5 or so at home, but I picked up another 5 because I’m always in favor of using up wall space to free up counter/drawer space.

And now, for the piece de resistence! (please use a French accent when reading that)

Image courtesy of ikea.com

This may look like IKEA’s signature Poang chair, but it’s actually a child’s size replica! Tiny chair!!! I have been looking for a fun chair for Goober to have in our living room that is just his size. I didn’t want your basic hard seated table chair (that are easier to find), I wanted more of a lounge chair. It’s not an easy task, to find such a chair that wasn’t $50+. Once again, IKEA came through! At $30, it was a little more than I originally wanted to spend, but the cute factor made it impossible to pass up.

So that’s about it for my haul. Tell me, what do you love at IKEA? Or, if you don’t love IKEA, what are you loving enough to Pin lately?


Pinnable Monday September 12, 2011

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Whew, it’s only Monday and already I’m looking forward to Friday. This week is going to be brutally busy between work, school, and home. It’s weeks like this that I tend to break out the crock-pot and put to use some of the many slow cooker recipes that I’ve been filing away.

Photo courtesy of http://foodiewithfamily.com

This is one of several slow cooker chicken tikka masala recipes I have pinned, but I’m so in love with this dish and to be able to have it waiting for me when I get home from work is equivalent to my husband cleaning the bathroom and the kitchen in the same day- amazing and unbelievable.


It’s at this point while I was writing this post that I realized that Chicken Tikka Masala recipes were the only slow cooker recipes on my pin board. I just assumed I had a ton of slow cooker recipes pinned because I LOVE my crockpot so much. Seriously. I’m not sure what I’d do without it. I have a few standard recipes, like Salsa Chicken for chicken tacos, and Pulled Pork, that I use over and over again. This isn’t going to cut it this year. As fall approaches,  I have a million more things on my plate this year. Plus, with Goober eating people food, I need some really great slow cooker recipes that I can prep either the night before or the morning of.

So, please, send me your slow cooker recipes and help a girl out. Soups, stews, pastas, bakes- if you love it, I’d love to try it! Please leave the recipes or the links in comments, or even better, @mention me on your slow cooker pins so I can Pin it to my Foodie board.

Happy Monday everyone!


Monday Pinning September 6, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Merrsidotes @ 7:30 am
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Happy Monday Tuesday!

Did you have a good holiday weekend? I definitely enjoyed the extra day off, not to mention the weather. Here in St. Louis, we went from Friday and Saturday highs over 100 degrees to Sunday and Monday highs in the mid 70s. Perfect for apple picking, barbequeing, and after dinner strolls through the neighborhood.

Another perk of my weekend was seeing my good friend Jen, who lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We met in college and have maintained a pretty close friendship, despite living in different states for the past 6 years. Jen was in for a wedding, so our friend Liz and I met up with her at a local mall in between the wedding & reception, which was the only time she had available during this very quick trip through town. These are definitely my most fashion thoughtful friends, so I took advantage of their expertise to choose some accessories to go with the new dress I bought for our wedding in South Carolina. Namely, I got a necklace and earrings to spice up my top half and my first pair of Spanx to help out my bottom half.  This pretty much completes my outfit and I’m very happy with the look. I haven’t bought a new dress in I can’t remember how long, and I haven’t been on a vacation in 4 years, so I am pretty excited to get all dressed up and actually HAVE somewhere to go. The purchase of my necklace and earrings though makes me want to wear my hair up for the wedding.

With my not-quite-touching-my-shoulders haircut and my idea of a hairstyle involving finger combing and a rubberband, I’m running short on ideas of how to create an updo on my own. This lead to me spending Saturday night on Pinterest searching “diy short hair updos”. My findings were not vast, but I grabbed a couple things.

Photo from Brides.com

I really like this style, but I’m concerned that my hair won’t be long enough. But if I can pull it off, I think its my favorite.

Updo for short-hair tutorial via YouTube.com

This is why I love Pinterest. Someone else took the time to find an AWESOME video tutorial about how to create a lovely updo, singled it out from all the crap that often permeates YouTube, and posted it here for me to see. Thank you, good sir, thank you very much.

 Love Love Love. The end.

No, not really the end. I’m a little concerned that I don’t have the ability to do this without completely flubbing it up. I think I’ll need to practice a lot before we head to the coast.

If anyone knows of a good updo technique for shorter hair, I’d love to hear it!