Easy Beef Burritos

I can’t wait to try this!

Time Conscious Cook

Do you ever have a day when you have too much going on and you don’t even have time to plan a lunch, or enough time to even go grab lunch from a restaurant? I have had this happen more times than I can count! These burritos are great because you can freeze them and reheat them later, and they taste just as good later!

Beef Burritos 

  • 2 lbs ground beef (93%lean 7%fat)
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 pack taco seasoning (I like McCormick)
  • 4 cans Rosaritas refried beans
  • 40 taco sized flour tortillas
  • 1 bag shredded cheese of your choice
  • 3 teaspoons peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Foodsaver ( you can use saran wrap but they will not last as long)

Heat large saucepan. Chop onion. Toss beef into pan and use fork or potato masher to break up meat. Throw in onion. Continue to use fork or masher to…

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How do you feel when something ends? You’re probably answering “depends upon what ended”.  Good point.  Sometime the thing that ended had simply ran its course and it was time for it to conclude.  Like a semester at school.  The semester begins, all full of anticipation, you’re excited to see how the class is going to progress.  And the class progresses, you’re going along, sometimes you’re really enjoying that class and sometimes you just absolutely can’t wait for that class to end.   In this instance, there is a logical progression, beginning, middle, end.  And the schedule is spelled out for you right from the beginning.  You know going in when it is going to end.  And yet, even when you do have that information, why does it still sometimes seem to take for-evvvv-errrr for it to be done?  You will find great information regarding surviving college on this blog: College Survivors Blog

Sometimes things end way too soon.  Like when you’re having a really great time on vacation.  Even though you know that the vacation is going to have to end, when it does, it seems like it was too soon.  I’m pretty sure this is the old adage, time flies when you’re having fun.  I remember as a kid how fast Christmas day was over.  There was the hype before the big day, the excited anticipation the night before, barely being able to sleep.  Going to bed and just knowing what was to come in the morning made it almost impossible to sleep.  So you lay awake, thinking, so happy in your anticipatory dreaming.  Then when you can’t possibly think that you can sleep, sleep does finally come over you like a blanket.  The next morning, you awaken, completely surprised that you even slept a wink.  You rush out to the living room to the Christmas tree and all the splendorous wonderful presents just waiting there.  When the time for opening comes, after a frenzy rush of adrenaline, it what seems like a blink, it’s over.  The floor is covered in a litter of paper, ribbons and bows.


One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day. Don’t clean it up too quickly. ~Andy Rooney

There are other kinds of endings.  Those that are painful; as when a relationship ends or when someone passes from this life.  These endings require healing.  But so many times people stay in the place they were when the end came.  There is no way a person can progress on with their life if they are cemented to a place in time.  Trees grow when they have roots, strong and deep; people do not.  People must continue to move in order to grow.  Love takes up a space in our heart, soul and life.  When that loved one leaves, either through a breakup or through a death, there is an empty space left.  That space becomes a void if the person left behind stays in the same place they were when the end came.  The rest of the world rushes around them, but they remain planted, lost and without direction.  All the while, the empty void begins to fill up.  The emptiness fills with miserly, regrets, anger, thoughts of revenge, hatred and more.  All this negative emotion is like a drain to the soul.  Negativity removes joy from the life of the one who harbors it.  A person cannot consume poison and continue to thrive.  There are steps one can take in order to heal from a loss.  Confront your broken heart, communicate with friends, family and loved ones, accept the loss.  You will find other answers for healing after a loss in Mayra Bitsko’s article, 5 Ways to Heal a Broken Heart After a Loss of a Loved One.

“When someone you love says goodbye you can stare long and hard at the door they closed and forget to see all the doors God has open in front of you.” ― Shannon L. Alder


Whether you are experiencing an ending that is welcome or sad, inevitably you will experience an ending. It is part and parcel for living as these are some of the things that cannot be escaped. Happiness is a choice. Even in sorrow we have choices. We can wallow in our pity or raise above the ashes.



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How do you measure growth?  For the new parent it’s every little milestone; the first smile, the first giggle, the first word.  Every time a new size of diaper is purchased, every well baby checkup symbolizes growth. 

The farmer measures growth by the height of his crops.  Day after day as he waters and tends to his field

he sees the crop getting taller, fuller, bearing fruit.  When the columbine is out in the field harvesting the crop, forming the hay bale, filling the warehouse, to the farmer this symbolizes growth.


Growth is all around us.  In the spring the flowers bloom and the green grass starts to emerge, reaching for the warmth of the sun. 

There are some things that have obvious, quantifiable growth; bank accounts, waist lines, test scores and hair length.  The more difficult measurement is that which cannot be measured with a ruler or a scale.  In his blog post of January 2013, Russ Roberts discusses growth and the standard of living.  He writes about how early innovations are seen as having more growth impact than recent ones due to the impact they had upon us.  You can read his blog post here:  Measuring Growth; Russ Roberts

Back to the original question; how do you measure growth?  Especially that which cannot be measured.  Lately I’ve been tasked to think about my growth within the context of my writing.  There are some obvious answers.  I’m actually writing on a weekly basis which is 100% more than I was writing 5 weeks ago.  I admit that I am that writer that needs a deadline.  I would like to say that I’m disciplined.  That I have a schedule and I write 5 pages a day.  I would like to say that I have a plan in place for the books that I am writing.  That I write on schedule and produce chapter after chapter.  That’s what I would like to say.  Were I to say that, I’d be lying.


Lately I’ve been writing on a weekly basis.  I’ve been doing this because I’m taking a class that requires for me to write on a regular basis.  I am required to produce written work within a deadline.  To be perfectly honest with you, my reader, I am a lazy writer.  I can sit down and write my little heart out and produce lengthy pieces in a short amount of time.  As this semester has progressed I have been tasked with producing more in-depth pieces that require more thought, more substance.  The work required is full and substantive.  In other words, I can’t just phone it in.  I really have to give a great amount of thought to the work.  I have to produce something with meat. 

I can tell that I am growing as a writer.  I’m giving much more thought to what I’m writing.  I’m writing as though there really will be someone reading what I’m writing.  I don’t know if anyone is reading my posts.  Writing is like giving a speech without an audience.  As a public speaker, when I’m delivering a speech, I have the advantage of instant feedback.  I can tell by the way the audience is responding whether or not my message is being received.  I can respond to the feedback instantly; speed up, slow down, add humor, ask a question, none of which can I do when I’m writing a message.  How do I know that, or if, my message is being received?  Without any type of feedback, I cannot. 

In some ways, writing a blog feels very narcissistic.  Here I am writing to hear myself talk, so to speak.  I hope that I’m writing for an audience, but it’s an invisible audience.  So the growth continues.  I’m writing more often; I’m making a deadline.  I’m writing to deliver my message.  I’m writing pieces that have substance.  But the most important part of all of this?  I’m writing.


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Watch this video and then come back and let’s talk about it.


That was pretty amazing, right?  I bet you’re wondering why I would put a video like this in my blog about getting the most out of life.  Let’s first evaluate the video.  There’s Vittorio Brumotti on a bicycle, riding in some pretty amazing places.  I mean, on a fence??? Seriously?? Yeah.  He’s that crazy good.  Now one would think, brumotti_new%20(17)after watching this that this type of riding is something that Vittorio really enjoys.  BTW, for the rest of this blog I’ll be referring to him as Brumotti because, well, that’s what he’s known as.  So, as I was saying, Brumotti appears to really enjoy riding his bike.  You can see it on his face, when he faces the camera that is.  He’s grinning a grin to beat all.  This is important because it is the crux of his talent.  He really enjoys what he’s doing.  Why do you think this is important?  Why do I drive this point home?  Because you absolutely must enjoy what you’re doing or you will not be happy in your choice of career.


Now, let’s look at something else that is crucial in this video.  His sic skill.  I don’t know about you but I don’t think I could ride my bike on the road as skillfully as this guy rides it on a fence!  A FENCE!  How did he get this amazing skill?  Go ahead.  Think about it.  I’ll wait.  If you’re thinking practice; ding, ding, ding we have a winner.  But seriously, practice will only get you so far.  I can practice something over and over but if I don’t have natural talent I’m not going to reach the level of expertise as Brumotti has on his bike.  So, practice + talent = sic skill, right?  Nope. 

Let’s look at a third component to this video.  Focus.  He has to maintain constant and incredible focus in order to manipulate his body and that bike in the manner in which he did.  Focus is the ability to concentrate completely upon what he’s doing.  This level of focus is not something that he learned overnight.  This is something that was cultivated over time.  Probably a long, long time.  Every time he got on that bike, he had to maintain focus.  I imagine there were plenty of times in which he didn’t maintain focus and he’s got the scars to prove it.

So, now let’s look at the equation;  PRACTICE + TALENT + FOCUS = SIC SKILL.  How does all of this translate to vittorio-brumotti_325x435your situation?  Well, you’re going to have to figure that one out for yourself.   What is it that you are passionate about?  Take that and practice it.  Hopefully you have talent to go along with it.  Add unfaltering focus and you can achieve whatever you set your mind on. 

This is why I posted this video.  Brumotti is the epitome of skill perfected.  He’s doing what he loves and he’s successful at it.  I bet that man never works a day in his life.  He’s having too much fun.



Picture credits:  http://www.brumotti.com

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Execution Phase


You can dream all you want.  You can want all you dream.  But unless you make things happen, nothing will.  This is the next step.  If you followed the suggestions in the “Goals” post, you have written down your goal and why this is your goal.  Hopefully you have narrowed it down and can list a very specific goal.  By now you may have written down the obstacles that may get in your way.  If you haven’t, I suggest that procrastination be one of your obstacles.  I know it could very well be mine.  But for every obstacle, there is a way to combat it.  You must find out what it will take to overcome each and every obstacle. 

So, now what?  Now it’s time to put your plan into action.  This is the execution phase.  Nothing will happen unless you make it happen.  There will be no opportunity knocking on your door.  There will be no agent coming by the soda shop and “discovering” you.  No.  You have to be your own agent.  You have to get your name out there.  Whatever it is.  You must be your own advocate.  If not you, then who? 

This week I was tasked to write a query letter for a piece of non-fiction that I’m writing.  I’m a ghost writer for a business man who wants his memoir written.  I didn’t have any experience writing a query letter and it was , at first, an uncomfortable exercise.  As a writer, we are very  sensitive to criticism.  What we write are very similar to our children.  We give birth to the words that are on the page.  We invent them, form them, give them shape.  And then when we finally put them down on paper it’s like a brand new baby, helpless and vulnerable.  And to make matters worse, we have to send our baby out into a cruel world to be judged by others.  We, of course, think it’s the next best book to ever be written.  But that is not necessarily the opinion of others.  We, the writer, has to learn how to deal with it if someone, God forbid, doesn’t share our high esteem for a particular piece. 

So, enter the query letter.  I have chosen a company who specifically caters to working with biographies.  I crafted the letter, honed it, sweated over it and then submitted it.  What I learned this week is that there’s a formula for crafting a query letter and the advice from the reading was that you do not deviate from the formula.  One doesn’t get “cute” with the query letter.  One follows the formula.  So, I followed the formula. 

This is my next step.  For me to go from a dreaming author to a published author, I have to send in a lot of query letters.  And I have to know how to submit them, as in what format, for some take snail mail (their words, not mine) and others take email submissions.  The query letter is crucial for my success.

What’s crucial for your success?  What is your query letter?  I suggest you find it and find it soon.  And then I suggest you do it. 

Related articles:

Setting SMART Goals

9 Tips for Staying Focused on your Goals

And finally – a Ted Talk about failing at having a great career

Ted Talk



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Introducing the Writer

Introducing the writer

My name is Madison Leavens, even though you will see it written as Dorothy Maher, my pen name is Madison Leavens. I am 52 years old… I know, old huh? But, I’m a late bloomer, you might say. I was 49 when I started college at Yavapai Community College, Clarkdale AZ I started by taking just two courses, then two became three and three became four. I found that as a mature student, I had a lot more appreciation for education than I had in my youth. I also found that I was pretty good at this studying thing as I maintain and 4.0 gpa. Not bad for an old gal. So, with the grades came scholarships. I had originally just wanted to get my AA degree so I could prove to my children that it could be done. But, when the All USA Scholarship came along and I won, I decided, heck, why not? How often does one receive a free Bachelor’s degree after all?

I work full time as a secretary for a busy hospital department and I love my job. But as much as I love my job, I want to pursue my career of choice just as much. I am in the process of writing a self-help book, or you might call it an list of events that just about everyone experiences, but nobody wants to believe that other people experience the same things that they do! I sometimes think that if I could go back to my younger self and say, “Hey! Knock it off!! You’re making a mountain out of a molehill.” Maybe life wouldn’t have seemed so damned difficult. I know that experiences make us who we are, but seriously, some people take things way too seriously. Pun intended.

So, until I get that book written, I’m working as a secretary and going to school and I’ve been commissioned to ghost write a memoir for a prominent local businessman. This is a very scary undertaking. Sometimes I wonder if I’m up to the task. I sincerely lack the discipline needed to write on a daily basis and I often feel like I’m letting this client down by not being more advanced in the project. Perhaps I’ll start giving myself deadlines. I like that idea.

I live in the small city of Cottonwood, AZ. I have a fiance’, with whom I live. In our house are our two dogs, Jackson and Katie and our two cats, Penelope Rose and Zoe. I am affectionately referred to as the crazy cat lady, like it’s an insult or something. I don’t have a problem with it. I also get flack for being a die-hard Barry Manilow fan, or Fanilow as we like to be called. All this means is that I have a colorful personality and a variety of interests. Life is not boring with me around, let me tell you! By the by, being the crazy cat lady that I am, I have created a Facebook page for my precious Penelope Rose: https://www.facebook.com/PenelopeRoseWorshipMe/ Just in case you’re interested in seeing the most beautiful kitty that ever walked the face of the earth.

Well, I think that just about wraps things up here. I’ve told you just about everything about me. I’m so excited to be taking TWC 403. I can’t wait to be on the road to publication!


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The Big Secret

Most of my childhood was spent looking at others, particularly my peeroutcasts and wanting to be just like them. They were confident, well socialized, at ease with themselves and others. At least that’s what I thought. I wanted to be normal. I wanted to fit in. Have you ever felt that way? Looking at someone and wishing you could be them? Looking within yourself and coming up lacking? Why should we find ourselves lacking? What is it that makes us think that others are better than us?

cheerleaderThe cheerleader and the jock, cliché but still, they were a thing, weren’t they? And the kids in the chess club, the band, or even the drama club. They all belonged. I was certain that they had things easy. Basically, what I was doing was judging my insides to their outsides. They appeared confident, therefore, I thought they were. They appeared at ease, therefore I thought they were. They certainly weren’t going to dispel the image that they presented; that of confidence and being well-adjusted. What I didn’t know, what most people don’t realize is that behind every popular kid’s self-assured, confident smile lurks a secret so big that if anyone found out about it, they surely would shun them forever! That secret is that they, the popular girl, the high school football captain, is just as scared and insecure as everyone else. The difference? They know how to hide it better. They have better coping skills. Perhaps their family is more affluent and therefore they have a bit of an edge. But when it all comes down to brass tacks. We’re all al little bit scared inside.

Why do you think we feel the need to measure up against others? Is there a reason why we’re constantly comparing ourselves? Aren’t we enough? Do we have to be what others are? Do we have to live our lives according to what others think? We can continue to chain ourselves to the illusions or we can free ourselves to the truth. What is your truth?

stand outJust remember, the next time you start to think that so-and-so has it all together, just remember, they really don’t. We don’t ever really have it all together.

“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.”

Dr Seuss




picture credits:




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