Classic goulash

Goulash! I like to make this on Sundays and use it for lunch during the week.

Thank you for this one.


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 3 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 (15 oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 (15 oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp adobo seasoning
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp salt (or seasoned salt of your choice)
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


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Three seasoning blends you need in your kitchen right now

Need some more flavor in your kitchen? If you’ve got these three seasoning blends on hand you can’t go wrong.

Taco seasoning

Courtesy of


Use this for, well, tacos, or anything taco-like. Beef or chicken. 

  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Cajun seasoning

Courtesy of


Cajun seasoning for chicken, vegetables, or anything where you want a nice kick of flavor.

  • 2 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp thyme

Poultry seasoning

Courtesy of


This is my favorite of the three. The absolute perfect compliment to chicken. 

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

If you have all three of these made and ready to go, you can easily throw together a last minute dinner when you otherwise had nothing prepared.

Macaroni salad version 2.0

If you’re looking for a classic macaroni salad, check out this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens.

If you want to veer of the beaten path a little bit, I discovered this one  a few weeks ago from and have made it twice with rave reviews.


  • 16 oz dried macaroni
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 (12 oz) jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped kale
  • 6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 1 bunch scallions, finely chopped


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How to prevent a gator tragedy

Edit on 06/17/16: Less than 24 hours after I wrote this post various news outlets disclosed that Disney employees reported problems to management regarding guests feeding gators – for 14 months. I have to rescind my below comment on it “probably not” being Disney’s fault. If they were made aware of the issue and did nothing, clearly they are at fault.

I’ve been semi-obsessed with gators for a few years now and consider myself fairly educated on the reptiles.

As an enthusiast but admittedly non-expert, I’d like to share my opinion on the recent gator-related tragedy in Orlando.


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Making heroes flawed (writing exercise #14)

A little catch up before we begin for regular readers…if you’re just here for the writing exercise, go ahead and jump to that.

I’m back from a month-long hiatus from the blog, in lieu of some Big Life Changes going on.  You’ll probably notice some changes with the blog as well.

I’ve already announced a break from my most popular category I wrote about the most, the Difference Betweens.

You might have also noticed a few categories that didn’t really take off – Tara’s Tutorials With Baking, which was great in theory but time consuming and now I’m going to be moving, and won’t be just down the street from my baking expert sister-in-law.

Then there was Operation Declutter, which is actually still an ongoing process in real life, as it has died on the blog. As I got into it, I realized there were uh, things I was getting rid of that I didn’t really want to broadcast on the internet. I still very, very much believe in decluttering and having less Stuff around, but this has turned into more of a private process.

As I’ve started a new, full time writing job, I’ve stopped my main freelancing gigs, so I’m not writing as much at home anymore. Although I took a break from as I got settled into my new, awesome job, oddly enough, I’m actually going to have more time to blog than I did before.

And the whole not freelancing thing also leaves room for another passion of mine: fiction writing.

I wrote a novel a couple years ago, Sober in Connecticut. The whole thing. About 96,000 words. I put it out there to publishers and didn’t get a bite. That will probably be revisited at some point.

Over the course of several months, several months ago, I wrote roughly half of the most difficult short story I’ve ever worked on – about 10,000 words – and had to stop. I hope to revisit this one as well. We’ll call it “The Animal Story” (a working/terrible title).

As I jump back into fiction, I wanted to start fresh with a new story.

I know, I know. It’s classic to start stories and not finish them, and I swear I don’t normally do that and “The Animal Story” is a fluke.

But a story idea just came along recently, like they often do, and I’ve been plotting it out and doing some character development before I dive in…


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Difference between: coffee and decaf coffee

Okay folks, small blog update before I get into this one.

I started a new job this week. 

I’ve transitioned from being a freelance writer on the side, to being an actual, full-time, writer and editor for a well known marketing company. This is awesome.

In lieu of the big changes happening in my life, I thought it was time to take a gander at the Difference Between category on this blog – the one I post in the most frequently.

I started this blog in April of 2013. (Three year anniversary!) My first Difference Between post was in July of 2013, on Russian dressing and Thousand Island dressing. I’ve done a Difference Between post once a week, with few exceptions, for two years and nine months. 

And I think it’s time to switch it up.

I have an idea of what I want to take my once-a-week post place, but I’m not sure enough to announce it just yet.

In the meantime! Feel free to continue emailing me with Difference Between post ideas, because I’ll probably pick it up at some point.

Here’s the last Difference Between post for awhile: coffee versus decaf coffee.

Photo credit: TheCoffeeExchange.Inc.
Photo credit: TheCoffeeExchange.Inc.

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