Erika Ray Photography » blog

I’m bad at buying quick meals.  Anything quick is usually not good for you or not good to eat.  But I recognize the importance of having meals that anyone can pop in the microwave and eat ASAP.

Right now the Quick Meal Menu is pretty slim.  Ramen is becoming a favorite (which is gross and delicious in the same vain: 1/2 the packet for less sodium).  I’m not a fan of the freezer pizza, but it works in a pinch.  Cereal?  Hell, yes.  And Freezer Burritos.

I swear to all the Cooking Gods that these are the Kings of Quick Meals.  I bow to the bag every single time I reach into and pull out the frozen God.  Stop buying the grocery ones.  Please.  They’re impostors.  They’re awful for you.  They aren’t even that tasty.  Sure they’re quick and easy, but so are Hookers and I doubt you’re bringing one of those home.

Please, print and save the following recipe.  Make a batch.  Make a double batch.  Make your own version.  Just trust me.

Freezer Burritos to Save Your Life (fine.  your grumbling tummy)

  • 1 lb. ground beef (I’m sure you could use turkey, but I haven’t.  Yet)
  • 1 to 2 T. of taco seasoning mix (you know this is so easy to make and much healthier and CHEAPER)
  • 3 Cups pinto beans (make your own and mash them a little or rinse off two cans)
  • 2 C. shredded cheddar cheese (a bag of whatever you’ve got on hand.  Minus mozzarella.  That sounds gross)
  • 1 C of enchilada sauce (I’ve used a can of the generic grocery store and I’ve made my own sauce before.)
  • 1/2 C diced onion (how about one small onion?  That’s easier than measuring)
  • 4 oz can of chopped green chiles (make sure they’re chopped.  nothing worse than grabbing the non-chopped…)
  • 12 burrito-size flour tortillas
  1. Cook the meat until it’s no longer pink.  Stir in taco seasoning.
  2. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Add the beans, cheese, sauce, onions, and green chiles.
  4. Make a little burrito rolling station.  Take about a 1/2 C of filing and plop it in the center of a tortilla.  Fold over one side, roll a little and tuck the ends in.  Then continue to roll.  Place it on the rolled seam and get going on the other 11.  My first one always looks pathetic.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve watched a video on how to properly roll a burrito.
  5. Let them cool.  If you have the freezer space, I’d freeze them on a pan for about 15-20 minutes.  Get them 1/2 frozen.  And then stuff them into a larger freezer bag.  This helps when you one to make just one.  You won’t be banging a frozen burrito on your counter at 2 a.m.
  6. To eat after frozen.  Grab one or two.  Microwave for 1:30 and then flip.  Microwave for another 1:30.  I like my shells crisp and with some color.  So I heat a skillet during the microwave portion.  When it’s finished in the microwave, I drop it on the skillet and toss each side.  But you can skip that part, but you may have to heat longer in the microwave.  I’m sure you can figure that out.

Make some variations.  Make them yours.  Try different seasonings.  Different meats.  Homemade sauce or green sauce.

21:30

Freezer burritos for life.

20141120-_ELR7230

The 20th of every month means a OSE Month has wrapped.  I love these days.  I love the month all smooshed together.  You want to know what I love more than my smooshed months?

Your smooshed  months!

My sisters will occasionally share theirs on FB and I get a glimpse into their daily lives.  Neighbors share theirs and I see my boys and myself pop up in their months.  Online friends share a broader view of their lives.  I enjoy seeing how our lives unfold.  It’s so similar and comforting.  Dinners being made, games being played, pets running, loved ones laughing,  and even those same loved ones rolling their eyes at the camera.  I’m nosy and this gives me permission to look in your “windows”.

But I also love it for a non-creepy reason.  I love what daily projects do for a person.  It provides focus.  Attention to your life.  I forces you to open up your eyeballs and say, “Hell yeah.  This life is pretty damn good.”  Maybe you’re more appreciative about the mundane bits of life.  But for me, I get bogged down by them.  Wake up, pack lunches, go to work, homework, chores, bed time, chores, repeat.  This and other daily projects strip away the boring bits and highlight the simple nuggets.  And when I smoosh them, I get excited (at least semi-excited:I hate packing lunches) about the repeat part.

Try it out.

I’m not wrong.

One Second FAQ

One Second Challenge (it’s never too late to start your Seconds)

Share your Seconds with my on the FB page. (I said I was nosy.)

20::30

Another month smooshed.

One Second A Day :: October-November from Erika Ray on Vimeo.

  • Carol Klein Ray - I love when you share these!November 20, 2014 – 10:22 pmReplyCancel

  • Pam Sherratt - Love love love it! You’re so creative. Mine’s like watching the Waltons. Glad you got the kids eating spray cream at CRC because we need that for future shaming.November 21, 2014 – 4:41 amReplyCancel

  • Pam Sherratt - Love love love it! You’re so creative. Mine’s like watching the Waltons. Glad you got the kids eating spray cream at CRC because we need that for future shaming.November 21, 2014 – 4:42 amReplyCancel

Untitled-1
Yesterday I almost ended my post with “I’m probably crabby because I’ll start my period tomorrow.”

But I didn’t.  Because I didn’t really think I was crabby because of a period.  And also when a woman blames her mood for a Period, men seem to think they get the same privilege and that’s certainly never the case (another blog post, Folks)

But honestly, I’m a piss poor of an excuse for a woman and an adult really.  You see, it’s true:

  • I have no clue when it’s daylight savings.  And I don’t really trust the whole Fall back thing, so I never know how to adjust my clocks.
  • I have no idea how to figure out Pacific Standard Time, Central screws me up, and who the fucks know about Mountain Standard time?!
  • Washing your sheets once a week?  Shit…
  • How long to you let an egg sit in the boiled water for a hard boil?  How about rice?  Is it the same time?  I google it every time.
  • I haven’t worn a wedding ring since I was pregnant with Becks.  It doesn’t bother me or Mark who hasn’t worn his for the same amount of time.  It just felt weird, so I don’t.  Do I think we aren’t married?  Trust me, we are.  And the ring doesn’t prove that.
  • I have no clue when my period is coming.  Ever.  Thank god, I started using an app, but I still have NO IDEA when it’s coming until I click the button.  And then I go all shocked and I whisper, “Well all that makes sense now…”

The week before I get crabby.  I eat the entire fridge, pantry, and basement reserves.  If I have more than two glasses of wine, I get beyond forgetful.  I look like I’m about 5 months pregnant.  I’ve got period symptoms, but I ignore them because I’m not good at being an Adult Woman.  So I blame everything else because it’s clearly EVERYTHING else.

I’m crabby because I’m a working mom of two boys.  I eat the entire fridge because some days I don’t eat anything.  Maybe it was actually three REALLY big glasses of wine.  I usually look like I’m 5 months pregnant.   And I did eat the entire fridge.  And drink that box of wine.  The symptoms are easily ignored by a Not Good Adult Woman.

And when I can’t ignore it any longer, I shake my head at the ignorance.  It’s that time ONCE again.  Dammit.  It’s still a surprise.  “WHAT is this disgusting shit?!”  How did this happen?!  No really?!  It isn’t fair!  While dealing with awful cramps, I jokingly asked that question and a woman truthfully said, “Because Eve couldn’t resist temptation.”  She’s lucky I resisted the temptation to pull out her eyelashes.  But I hate Woman on Woman crime (even though she started it).  **

So I didn’t end yesterday’s post with that because I had no clue.  And let’s be honest, I’m usually a bit crabby.

19 :: 30 

Not being pregnant.  Cause that’s the only good thing about having a period If you don’t want to be pregnant.  And I don’t.

Untitled-2

**  Please don’t yell at me if you’re religious.  I get it.  Fine that’s what you believe.  But a very simple, “I’m sorry sweetie” would have been better than a suck it up for Jesus answer (a version of what my Ma would have said to us as kids.  She knows better than to pull that card with a Period though…).

***I miss shooting in bathrooms.

I’m crabby.  I’m cold and crabby.  I’ve been trying to get warm all stupid day.  Parent Teacher Conference, grocery, dinner, getting the mail, picking up Becks, and everything else that requires me to go outside is keeping me FUCKING cold.  Which is keeping me crabby.  And crabby does not make for a grateful person.

But part of the deal is I have to find a gratitude for every day.  So here goes:

  • I have only one thing of lip balm in the house.  My lips have started to grow their scaly winter skin.  I forget to buy another one or the store only has flavors.  I hate flavored lip balms.  So I only have one.  And I’m pretty sure I’ve lost it.  But I think I know where it’s at.  I think.
  • I still get a little bored during the day.  So I sort of pace around the house.  Laundry is done.  Dishes were done. Fine the house isn’t spotless, but pacing was better than scrubbing.  So I paced.  I guess it’s better than sitting on the couch.
  • I’ve decided I’m not a fan of Hibachi grills.  It feels weird, there’s too much food, I haven’t had amazing dinners (just lots of food), and it takes FOREVER.  But we figured the boys might enjoy it.  They did a little bit, but we had much better options and they agreed.  We crossed that off our list.
  • The weather guy just said, “There’s a cooldown coming and more snow.”  He said it with a smile.  It makes me want to punch him in the face and that sort of feels good.
  • I picked up a bottle of wine cause I’m crabby and cold.  It has a screw cap because I figure I’d probably break the cork.  And I can’t deal with that debacle tonight.  Screw cap saved a possible table flipping incident.
  • For some reason, Becks is singing a Spice Girls song which means now I’m singing the Spice Girls.  It was fun for about three seconds.  But I got three seconds of “fun” out of it.
  • I wrote a pissy/crabby yet “grateful” post.  And I don’t care that I’m still crabby.

20141117-_ELR7202

I’m always so afraid that maybe I’ve written everything I can possibly say about birth: the Mom was amazing, the Dad was supportive, the siblings glowed.  But every time I sit down to type, I’m reminded of why I shoot births: every single birth has its own story.  The players and the outcome are similar, but each has a unique voice.

Susan and Steve’s story was one of community and smiles that radiated the day.  The room was filled with flags made special for this baby.  Friends were in and out to help with their daughters.  Friends rode their bikes as fast as possible to make sure they were able to tape the birth.  Friends stopped in for a laugh and hug.  And everyone was smiling.

At one point, Amy from Choice told Steve, “This baby is going to be here in about two minutes.”  I looked over at Susan who was still smiling and talking.  I thought “Amy’s crazy…”  But she’s always right.  Susan found the “pushing song” on the iPod and a few minutes later Steve pulled his third daughter from the water and placed her on Susan’s chest.  She was surrounded by her parents and her elated big sister.  Exactly as it should be.

I stepped outside about 15 minutes later and some neighbors starting walking over, “We heard there’s a baby!  Can we come up?”  Neighbors and friends congratulated and got to meet the newest Girl to the clan.  And from that point on the room was packed with bodies and filled with love and smiles.

Sweet Little One,

You are so lucky.  Your Momma was fierce during labor and delivery.  She will support you with this fierceness and I’m guessing you’ll inherit it.  Cherish that and use it all your life.  Your sisters were patiently waiting on you and once you arrived they could get enough of you.  And you see that smile your Poppa flashes you?  You were born under that smile and I’m guessing that’s a true good luck symbol.  A community of friends were waiting to shower you with love.  I’ve got a good feeling that you will be supported and loved by a gaggle of really good folks.  And one day in November I got to be apart of them.  Welcome to the world Baby Girl. **

beginOfBirth

bathroomTime

20141111-_ELR6671
20141111-_ELR6675

poolTime
20141111-_ELR6777
20141111-_ELR6809
20141111-_ELR6812
20141111-_ELR6815

babyCheckUp

helloBaby
20141111-_ELR7040

meetBaby
20141111-_ELR7095
20141111-_ELR7101
** Psst…  The world is full of nice white sandy beaches.  Ask your parents to take you to one.  I think we all expect a picture.

  • Kristin white - You make me wish I could fly you to KC to shoot our last birth!!November 17, 2014 – 9:18 amReplyCancel

  • Ellen Appleby Keim - These photos are amazing! Thanks so much for sharing.November 17, 2014 – 3:43 pmReplyCancel