Turkey Burger Quesadillas — My Family F***ing Loved These

I tried another Skinnytaste recipe.

Sort of.

I adapted the Skinny Buffalo Burger Quesadilla from skinnytaste.com.

And my family fucking loved them.

I am obligated to use the f-word when talking about them.

That’s how much they liked them.

And they are so simple!

So on skinnytaste.com, the photo of the burger looks like this:

And she makes her burger quesadillas with buffalo meat and whole wheat tortillas. She also gets small tortillas and trims them to size for each burger.

So I had to make a few changes, because 1) I don’t buy buffalo meat, 2) I was only going to Costco and they don’t have whole wheat tortillas there, 3) ain’t nobody got time to trim tortillas, and I’m not going to throw away perfectly good tortilla parts for no good reason.

SO, here’s what I did…

First,you only need the following four ingredients (salt and pepper don’t count as an ingredient):

  • Pico de Gallo (which is fancy for salsa, and they have a really awesome one at Costco)

(Here it is, and I don’t buy it because it’s organic, I buy it because it’s SO GOOD):

 

  • 2-3 cups shredded cheese (I used Kirkland shredded Mexican)
  • 1 lb ground turkey (sold in a 4-pack at Costco)
  • tortillas (you can get a big ass bag of these at Costco for $3.99, and they keep well but if you don’t use them all you can always freeze them)
  • salt and pepper

Before I go any further, I made these for dinner on Wednesday. I only have my phone to take pictures, and I have to take them in a small window of time (at this time of year in February, it’s about 4:40-5:00) when the light in my kitchen is the best, because when I use the flash on my phone or have to turn the lights on in the kitchen, the pictures suck.

During my small window of time, Number 6 was outside playing, fell, got his pants soaked and came inside in meltdown mode because he needed to change.

Number 3 was super sick with bronchitis and strep, had a massive coughing attack that took him by surprise, and he puked on the couch.

And then the electrician unexpectedly showed up at the house out of nowhere (my husband had arranged for him to come, but forgot to tell me), and I’ve been waiting for months for him to come so I  had to stop and show him what I needed him to work on.

So my point here is that I missed my photo window of opportunity, and the pictures suck.

But I’m telling you, this meal was a massive hit.

MASSIVE.

Someday I’ll redo this post with better pictures. Until then I wanted to get it written before time got away from me, and also because my family loved it so much it’s for sure going in the meal plan rotation, and I am certain this is a recipe your family will love, too, whether you make my revised version or Skinnytaste’s original one.

So here’s what I did.

I cut four tortillas into quarters. That way nothing went to waste.

Next, I seasoned the ground turkey with salt and pepper and made small, thin patties.

(I told you the pictures were terrible).

The Skinnytaste recipe tells you to cook all the burgers and then wash the pan out and use it again to assemble the quesadillas. But I was kind of in a rush because I had to get to swim practice, so while the burgers were cooking in one pan, I made quesadillas in another.

Next, spray a pan heated to low/medium with nonstick spray, then put a quarter tortilla in. Put 1-2 tablespoons of cheese on the tortilla, then 1-2 teaspoons of pico de gallo, then a cooked burger, then 1-2 tbsp more cheese on top, followed by another tortilla.

Gina tells you to put more pico de gallo on top of the burger, but I didn’t because I didn’t know if the kids would eat them if they had too much salsa on them.

Cook 1-2 minutes on one side and then flip.

Depending on how big your pan is, you could make more than one quesadilla at a time.

And that’s it!

The finished product looked like this:

Here’s what the family said:

Number 2: Those are really good.

Number 3 (only got one little quesadilla because he fell asleep in his bed and I didn’t want to wake him up because he was sick): MOM! NO FAIR! Those were so good and I only got one.

Number 4: OHMYGODMOMTHOSEARESOGOOD.

Number 5: Mommy, I don’t like these… I LOVE THEM.

Number 6: Refused to take a bit because he saw green things in them.

Number 7: Declined to comment but wolfed down two.

I served these with tossed salad. They were delicious.

I made a double batch for the eight of us and they were gone immediately. Next time I’ll make quadruple and freeze them, or at least cook the burgers and freeze those so I only have to assemble the quesadillas.

Highly recommended!!!!

 

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If you don’t think you can deal with one more f*cking temper tantrum, this might help.

If you have a two, three, four, or five-year-old, then there is a good chance you have the pleasure of experiencing at least one full-blown, level 10, code red temper tantrum every single day.

Our youngest is now five-years-old.

I’d say the temper tantrums at this age are less frequent.

But what they lack in frequency, they make up for in intensity.

A few kids ago, I handled temper tantrums differently than I do now.

And I’m certainly not perfect in dealing with them.

But back in the day, I used to believe that the best and most effective way to deal with a tantrum was to punish.

And punish.

Dole out consequences.

The longer the tantrum went on, the worse the punishment became.

YOU ARE IN A TIME OUT UNTIL YOU STOP CRYING!

IF YOU DON’T STOP CRYING, YOU ARE LOSING TV TIME!

THE LONGER YOU CRY, THE LONGER YOU ARE GOING TO STAY IN YOUR ROOM!!!

I don’t know about you, but my kids have some serious fucking endurance.

And so every time I tried to stop a temper tantrum with threats and punishment, the only thing I succeeded in doing was 1) intensifying the tantrum, 2) becoming increasingly infuriated myself and 3) handing out a whole bunch of empty threats.

I also used to think that my kids were just being total assholes when they were throwing these epic fits, and that I needed to make them understand how unreasonable they were being.

And that my punishment must not be severe enough.

I’d need to make the consequence even worse. Then the tantrums would start to disappear.

Yeah right.

The more I ramped up, the more they ramped up.

Nothing got better.

But it definitely often got much worse.

So maybe it took me to the seventh kid to understand that tantrums are your kids way of communicating with you.

Not just their way of trying to make your life hell.

What I know now is that kids aren’t misbehaving because they are just trying to be douchey or because they don’t know right from wrong.

They are acting out because they have a mistaken goal.

The deepest desire of all human beings, not just children, is to feel a sense of belonging and significance.

We all want attention. We all want to feel important. We want to have a say in what goes on in our lives and the decisions that affect us.

I certainly want all these things in my marriage.

I want my husband to pay attention to me. I want to feel important to him. And I want to have a say in how we run our home and the decisions we make regarding our kids.

Our children want the same things.

Your kids want your attention.  They want to feel important. They want to feel like they have some say in what goes on in their lives.

And when they don’t feel these things, they don’t feel like they belong or that they are significant, and they make it pretty clear.

They let you know through rebellion. They let you know through defiance. They let you know through retreating. They let you know through temper tantrums.

They are not trying to be jerks.

They are trying, often unsuccessfully or unhealthily or ineffectively, to communicate with you.

Their behavior, their mistaken goal, is attention or power or revenge or assumed inadequacy.

If your kid is bugging the shit out of you, it’s because she (mistakenly) thinks she is only important when you are keeping busy with her.

If your kid is throwing a massive fit, it is because he (mistakenly) believes this is the best way to get some control over the situation.

If your kid is retaliating, hurting people, and destroying things, it’s because she believes she doesn’t belong, so she’s gonna hurt everyone else so they don’t belong either.

And if your kid is retreating and not trying anymore, he is feeling inadequate. He believes he doesn’t belong, and there is no use in trying because he’s never gonna get it right or make you happy anyway.

If you look at all your kid’s behaviors, they will fall into one of these categories.

Back to the temper tantrums….

Number 7 can throw a good temper tantrum.

Sometimes these happen just because she’s exhausted or she’s coming down with something.

But most of the time, the reason behind them is the mistaken goal of power.

If she throws a big enough fit, she will get her way. She’ll have the power. She’ll have total control over what is going on.

We had one of these episodes two days ago.

And what it came down to was that I had told her I wanted her to clean her room up.

She had also given me a dollar that was hers to hold onto a few days earlier so she wouldn’t lose it. (She was actually afraid her sister was going to steal it, so she asked me to keep it safe).

We forgot about the dollar, and then, of course, she remembered about it as soon as I asked her to clean up her room.

I told her I would help her clean her room, and that when we were done, I’d go find her dollar downstairs.

And then the meltdown from hell ensued.

I’M NOT CLEANING MY ROOM UNTIL I GET MY DOOOOOLLLLLAAARRRRR!!!!!!

She screamed that at the top of her lungs repeatedly until she ended up in a Helen Keller rage on her floor.

A couple years ago, I would have gone into threatening mode almost immediately.

Or I would have put her in her room, held the door shut, and told her she had to stay in there until she calmed herself down and cleaned her room up.

Or I would have put her in a time out until she stopped crying.

Or I would have told her she now lost her dollar permanently.

But like I said earlier, my kids have some serious endurance.

I have held the bedroom door closed for twenty minutes in the past.

Twenty minutes of all out screaming. That is no fun for anyone in the house.

Plus, by the end of it, we would both be completely drained and the room still wouldn’t be cleaned up.

 

So what do I do now? How did I handle the dollar disaster?

There are plenty of different strategies that don’t involve threatening your kid within an inch of her life.

I don’t always employ them. I still forget. She can still get under my skin.

But I’m much better now at dealing effectively with this behavior and not totally overreacting to it.

Sometimes she works herself up so badly that asking her if she wants to just sit on my lap with her blankie helps her calm down.

Sometimes, when I’m fairly rested and have more patience than normal, I’ll just ignore her. But I have to be feeling particularly strong to do that one.

I do try to acknowledge her anger. I mean, when someone does something to me and I’m pissed off, I like to be acknowledged for that.

And then this time around, I tried to redirect her.

I had originally told Number 7 I wanted her to clean her room up. I wasn’t going to make her though. Which was part of the reason for the tantrum.

She didn’t want to clean her room, but really what she wanted was her dollar.

I had told her she didn’t have to clean her room, but if she chose not to, I’d hold onto the dollar until she did. That’s what pushed her over the edge.

So ultimately, the fit wasn’t about cleaning the room, it was about the dollar.

As she was freaking out on her bedroom floor, I sat down and started folding clothes.

She wasn’t helping at all.

But I wasn’t about to get into Trumpesque comparison of who was doing more cleaning.

Sometimes just having the kid be in the room while you are  helping is enough. Because they don’t even want to be in there.

As I was folding clothes, I figured we’d  pick out her outfits for the next couple days.

I’d pick up a shirt and ask her, “Do you want to wear this tomorrow to school?”

She was starting to get distracted from the IWANTMYDOLLAR chant she had going on.

She basically said no to every single thing I  held up, but in addition to distracting and redirecting her, I was also giving her some control in another area. So maybe she wasn’t getting the dollar, but she was getting some power in the form of choosing what to wear to school.

She’s stop the crying for a couple seconds, then realize she wasn’t screaming and start back up again.

But the intervals of crying were getting a little bit shorter, and the intervals of  not crying were getting a little bit longer.

Then, I picked up a few pieces of paper that were on the floor, crumpled them up, and asked Number 7 if she could pull the garbage can out from behind her closet door for me.

Of course she screamed NO!!! at me.

So from where I was sitting on the floor, I took the wadded up ball of paper, and lobbed it over the closet door, trying to get it in the  garbage can behind the door.

Number 7 saw me do that, stopped crying immediately, jumped up, and went to look behind the door to see if I made the shot.

And then she said,  “I WANNA TRY!!!”

She took her first shot.

Then she looked behind the door to see if she had made it.

Then, I asked her if she’d pick up all the other papers on the floor. She could make them into balls and see how many baskets she could make.

The tantrum stopped immediately.

Immediately!

And now, without realizing it, really, she was cleaning up.

And she was even having fun.

She kept picking up papers and shooting baskets.

I kept folding clothes.

Now that she was calm, I asked her again what she wanted to wear as I was folding, and we got her outfits for the rest of the week picked out. And she had complete control over what she wore to school.

A year or two ago I would have battled it out with her until we were both exhausted and until I had taken every privilege imaginable away,

And the room still would have been a mess.

But not this time.

This time I changed the way I approached the situation. I didn’t give into Number 7’s tantrum and helped her understand that tantrums aren’t the way to get what she wants. I didn’t threaten or punish. I also didn’t feel shitty or guilty about the way I handled the situation.

I kept my cool, we spent some one on one time together, Number 7 contributed without the use of ultimatums, and outfits for the week were picked out.

 

In the end, Number 7 felt like she belonged and was significant.

Oh yeah.

And she finally got her dollar.

 

 

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Making Momming Easier — One Way To Help Teach Your Kids To Be Responsible

People very often say to me, “I don’t know how you do it with so many kids at home.”

Sometimes I don’t know how I do it either.

It’s often a shakedown cruise here at my house.

But sometimes, we are a (sort of) well-oiled machine.

And it’s for one reason: our kids have responsibilities and are encouraged to be independent.

Even the youngest ones.

Especially the youngest ones.

This is one of the biggest bullet points in the “pro” column for having a large family.

If I had to do every single thing around the house and every single thing to get the kids ready for wherever they had to go every day, I’d be totally fucked.

And angry.

This became incredibly clear around the time that kid #4 came into the picture.

If I was going to maintain any level of sanity, they were going to have to start doing some stuff for themselves.

Of all the responsibilities the kids have, the one that has proven to be the absolute most helpful so far is requiring the kids to pack their own lunches.

Because this hasn’t just saved me close to thirty minutes every morning. It has had a domino effect in other areas.

We are always on the go to swim practice and swim meets and basketball games and baseball games.

Swim meets and baseball games in particular are a serious time investment. And the kids are inevitably “starving” and “dying of thirst” after they’ve been there for about 20 minutes.

Buying stuff at concession stands at baseball games or stopping at Wendy’s on the way home from a meet is expensive when you have lots of kids.

So now when we are leaving for something that’s going to take more than a couple hours, all I have to do is tell the kids to pack a few snacks/sanwhiches/whatever for themselves before we go.

They each get their own lunch boxes and fill them up.

They now (almost) automatically fill their water bottles before they get in the car to go anywhere because they know, at $1-$2 a pop, I’m not going to buy everyone a Gatorade at the baseball game.

Not having to worry about packing up food for everyone every time we head out on a Saturday or Sunday saves me lots of money and lots of time.

We can get out of the house faster.

This absolutely makes my life easier.

The other way having the kids pack their own lunches has positively snowballed is that once they started doing that, they became more interested in being a part of the cooking process in general.

To varying degrees of course. They don’t all want to open up their own restaurants when they are older.

But they do like to help out in the kitchen.

And Number 4, in particular, is eager to learn how to do everything.

The more time she spends in the kitchen, the more comfortable I am letting her do things on her own.

She’s no Ina Garten yet, but for a ten-year-old, she’s pretty self sufficient.

And that couldn’t have come in more handy than it did this morning.

Yesterday out of nowhere I got slammed with a stomach bug. From hell.

Last night I literally thought I was going to die.

I woke up this morning feeling better than I did yesterday, but still quite sick. The smell of food was making me gag (and no, I’m not pregnant — closed that shop up for business four years ago).

Of course, today we had a snow day, so all the kids were home.

Number 4, knowing I was not feeling well, came into my room this morning with a smoothie in her hand.

She said to me, “MOM! I made the BEST smoothie!”

She knows how to work the Ninja and make her own smoothies. I usually make them with frozen strawberries, bananas and either orange juice or a little bit of vanilla and milk.

I asked her what she did differently.

“I used frozen strawberries, blueberry yogurt, and a little bit of honey!”

So not only is she proficient in some areas of the kitchen, she’s also curious and adventurous (I know trying blueberry yogurt in a smoothie isn’t like she’s ready to take over Andrew Zimmern’s hosting gig on Bizarre Foods, but you know what I mean).

Number 7 followed her into my room, saw the smoothie, and asked if she could have one, too.

Number 4 took her right to the kitchen and made one for her.

Then she cam back into my room a few minutes later and asked if she could make pancakes.

She slices her own apples and is pretty good with a knife (not that she needed a sharp knife to make pancakes, but the point is that she’s got some skills). She’s been cracking eggs since she was about 4, so I wasn’t worried about that. She’s fried eggs before, so she knows her way around the stove.

It told her to go for it.

I always make pancakes from scratch, so we didn’t have any mix, and she was going to have to figure it out herself.

About five minutes later I heard her yell, “Number 3! I found the recipe! Do you want to help me?”

About ten minutes after that, I dragged my butt out of bed to make sure nothing life threatening was about to happen.

Number 4 had it all under control.

Of course I had to document it. Because I wanted to share this moment.

Because another domino effect of having the kids make their lunches is that Number 4 knows her way around the kitchen, and when I’m sick, I have someone who can help me out.

All you moms know what a relief that is.

Because being sick blows.

But being sick and having to take care of your kids seriously blows.

This giving your kids responsibility stuff isn’t just for people with large families, though.

And I’m not saying that people with one or two kids don’t teach their kids to be responsible.

But I think that people with larger families might discover this sooner than smaller families out of necessity.

When you have one or two kids to take care of, sometimes (okay, pretty much all the time) it’s easier just to do it yourself.

Initially, anyway.

But eventually, this stuff catches up with you.

That saying You can’t teach an old dog new tricks is a saying for a reason.

And the longer you let your kids live without responsibility, the harder it is to establish it later on.

If you start with small things when they are two or three years old, by the time they are in middle school, they won’t even bat an eyelash.

But when you wait until they are teenagers to expect them to start being responsible for packing their own lunch?

There is a very good chance you are in for a long and drawn out battle.

Your two-year-old may not be able to pack a lunch box for herself, but she sure as hell can put a juice box in one. And she can turn the water on while you hold the water bottle under the faucet.

She can be involved in the process early on.

The initial investment of time (and patience) may be a little higher when they are younger.

But the payoff later on is huge. And it’s a gift that spreads into other areas of life you wouldn’t even initially think about.

Like when you are puking your guts out on a snow day when six kids are home.

If you want to ease your burden and help your kids to become more responsible, packing their lunches is a great place to start.

And don’t worry.

No matter how responsible they become?

They are still always gonna need you.

 

 

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A Cute And Easy Halloween Decoration That Uses Up Those Broken Crayons

A couple days ago a friend of mine posted a picture of a pumpkin her daughter made.

I had never seen anything like it before, but I thought it was so cute.

crayonpumpkin

I  Googled how  to do this, and all you needed was some crayons, a little glue, a pumpkin and a hair dryer.

Iwas going to try to do this with the kids, but then I knew everyone would be fighting over one pumpkin. And these white pumpkins aren’t cheap. I wasn’t going to buy six of them.

So I did something else.

I bought two bags of white gourds. I used one bag to practice on, and then I let the kids each make their own with the other bag.

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Instead of using entire crayons like they do for the big pumpkins, I took pieces of broken crayon, and I used those.

I realized after my first one that the pieces had to be pretty small.

So I sliced the pieces up with a knife to make them smaller.

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I didn’t have any  Elmer’s glue, so I had to use the hot glue gun to stick the crayons to the gourds.

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I learned you only need a tiny drop of glue. But if you don’t use it, you just blow the pieces across the room so you have to make them stick with something. If you have plain Elmer’s glue, I’d go with that over the glue gun.

Once you have your colors attached, grab a hair dryer and melt the crayon pieces.

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Number 7 helped me out with mine. I stuck with fall-ish colors because I want to keep these out through Thanksgiving.

Aren’t they cute?

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I put mine on the shelves in the kitchen. I love them!

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Next, the kids all did one of their own.

They were a little more creative with the colors.

I put a little drop of hot glue on the gourd and they put the colors they wanted into the glue (very carefully).

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They were each totally able to handle the hair dryer themselves with no problem.

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Super cute, right?

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They each put their  “pumpkin” up in their rooms.

I love them, and now we’ve found a use for those broken crayons!

 

 

 I LOVE this super cute set! Check it and tons of other cute stuff out at Betsy Boo’s Boutique — my fave place to shop online!

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