learning to cook


crockpot chicken tacos.jpg

I'm a major offender of ice cream for dinner. Or cake for dinner. Sometimes I even go for the s'mores. Though it does help me satisfy a major sweet tooth, I mostly go this route because of the major convenience. 

But this year I've rediscovered the crock pot & when I walk up my three flights of stairs & open the door of the studio to smell a delicious dinner, ready to eat, I no longer have an excuse. Today I wanted to share my favorite crock pot recipe to date: chicken tacos.

Easy chicken tacos.jpg

When I went over to a friend's for the Super Bowl, (salted oatmeal chocolate chip cookies in hand) someone introduced me to these tacos. & my life was changed. You will need:

In the crockpot:

  • Three frozen chicken breasts
  • Your favorite salsa
  • Frozen corn
  • 1 can of your favorite beans, rinsed
  • 1 package of taco seasoning mix 

For the tacos:

  • The crockpot chicken
  • Taco sized flour tortillas (did you even know they had these?!)
  • Taco fixins' (I used rice, lettuce, cheese & sour cream)
easy chicken tacos.jpg

Like all crockpot recipes, this one is simple. Combine all five ingredients & let it slow cook while you're at work. Shred the chicken when you come home & let it sit for another hour while you cook the rice. Then... eat tacos.

easy crockpot chicken tacos.jpg

So, the consensus:  ice cream for dinner is good, but these tacos are better. What are your other favorite crock pot recipes? I want to try!

easy crockpot chicken tacos.jpg


What are my two favorite desserts, you ask? Cookies & ice cream. How could you make my life even better? BY COMBINING THEM. That's how I started my quest for the perfect homemade ice cream sandwich. I happen to already know the best oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe (remember it  HERE?). So I thought, "Um, omg. Easy." Disclaimer: it only half worked. Here's what I did:

Seems simple: stuff two oversized cookies with one scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. Freeze. & you've got yourself a delicious homemade ice cream sandwich. Right? Kinda........

You've got an ice cream sandwich with cookies so hard you can't bite into it. THE WORST! I eagerly chomped into this treasure yesterday & was left with.. nothing! Not even a bite! Now, I'm biased, but I believe these would have been perfect  if I ate them right away without freezing. However, four cookies worth of cookie dough later, I thought I'd be good (smirk emoji) & save this mega treat for later.

So back to the drawing board I go. In my google search bar today: "How to keep frozen cookies soft." Ideas & tips welcome!


You guys all know that I love brunch. I love everything it stands for: delicious breakfast foods, delicious breakfast drinks, lazy weekends & of course, favorite family & friends to brunch with. This weekend my sister invited my mom & me over for a little brunch. I brought the turkey & bread for Monte Cristos, she provided the Bloody Mary's & our mom brought the Pumpkin Mousse.  

My mom is super fit. So naturally she had the ingredients for a low-fat pumpkin mousse. I don't know the nutritional facts exactly, but it's gotta be nearly fat free. 

You will need:

  • 1 can pumpkin 
  • 1 tub lite whipped topping
  • 1 package (dry) sugar free vanilla instant pudding

Dump it all together in a mixing bowl.


& serve! So easy? I know. It's the perfect thing to bring to a get-together on the go. & so seasonal, to boot! I topped it with a little cinnamon, but that was mostly to make it look beautiful for you guys ;D

P.S. Sorry (but only a tiny bit) for the pumpkin posts overload. Like I've told you before, for some reason my family really loves pumpkin. Like, really.  I promise I'll slow down a little now that it's almost Halloween!! Xoxo guys, & thanks for reading!


So a friend of mine recently described jack-o-lanterns as "so magical, but when you're actually doing it... that's some really hard work!" She does have a point... There are so many guts & messes & small intricate designs. But, it is worth it. Why? Because in addition to a ghoulish gourd on your door step, what makes a jack-o-lantern so worth it is the tasty secret inside. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds!

You will need: 

  • A pumpkin
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Olive Oil

Okay, so first you're going to want to preheat the oven to 375. Empty out your pumpkin. Just scoop all the guts & all the seeds out and dump them in a bowl of water. The guts will (mostly) fall to the bottom while the seeds will float to the top. 

Scoop the seeds into a colander to get the excess guts, boil the seeds in salt water for 10 minutes. Spread them out in a single layer over a greased cookie sheet. Pat dry with a paper towel. Sprinkle with olive oil & more salt. (I saw this post after I made these. She has you toss the seeds in oil rather than sprinkle. I think I like that better. It will lead to more thorough coverage.) 

Bake at 375 for 10 to 15 minutes, flipping somewhere in the middle. Voila! Crunchy, perfect, delicious browned pumpkin seeds. 

The taste instantly sends me back about 15 years, running around as a fairy princess, or a bunch of grapes (purple balloons pinned to my sweatshirt & leggings with a twig in my hair!) or one of my mom's many homemade costumes. & is it just me, or do pumpkin seeds kind of taste like popcorn? Xoxo, everyone. Thanks so much for reading!


Fall means pumpkin! Everywhere! Pumpkin spice.  Pumpkin cheesecake. Pumpkin pie. Pumpkin Beer! & my personal favorite.... PUMPKIN MUFFINS!!!! Why do we all love pumpkin? (Because its naturally fat free?) (Because its so delicious?) (Because it reminds us of jack-o-lanterns?) I don't know for sure. But we sure do love it. My mom has been making these pumpkin muffins since I was in high school. They are soooo super easy. Only three ingredients, actually. Let's get to it.

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees & grease a few muffin tins. (I had enough batter for 24 mini muffins & 12 normal sized.) (& there could've been more.. I didn't try very hard because I wanted to lick the bowl.)

This recipe literally calls for three ingredients. Pictured above: 

  • 1 dry package of spice cake mix
  • 1 18oz can of PURE pumpkin (not pie filling!)
  • 1 cup water (pictured below)
  • Optional: Mix ins. You're going to want to add chocolate chips.

By the way, without the mix ins, we found this recipe all those years ago on Weight Watchers (here). BUT.. trust me on adding those chocolate chips. It's really delicious. 

Use a hand mixer to blend three ingredients (1 package spice cake mix, 1 can of pumpkin, 1 c water). Or, if you don't have a hand mixer (I made these stranded away from The Studio with over-the-weekend car malfunctions), you can hand whisk :)

Then, if you're adding "mix ins" you'll want to divide your batter. I always add Ghiardelli Dark Chocolate Chips to mine. My mom used to add frozen blueberries instead. You can see my three batters below.

Spoon your batter into muffin tins.

& bake for 18-25 minutes or until a toothpick (fork) comes out clean. Weird side note, my mini muffins took nearly as long to bake as the large!

As you know, I swoon for baked goods (you also need to try this yogurt banana bread & these oatmeal chocolate chip cookies). But I swoon most for the easiest ones. Happy Pumpkin-ing my loves!  Let me know if you try these out & thank you for stopping by Magical Simplicity!