Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Try-It Soupday: Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili.

Last week's Try-It Soupday fell on Saturday... but I am just now getting around to posting about it. Confession: I've made this soup before, so it isn't really a new recipe... But it's only my second time making it so I thought it'd pass...

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili. Sweet potatoes? Black beans? Other strange ingredients like honey and coffee? Count me in! This chili has no meat in it. People like my dad would probably say, "Chili with no meat in it is no chili at all." But it's good! Believe it or not, something about the sweet potatoes makes this chili very hearty and filling. And best of all... it's healthy! If you are a fan of sweet potatoes I would highly recommend it. If you are not... maybe we'll have better luck next time.

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

Not a bad pic for one taken on my phone, eh? Well done, Instagram.

Monday, October 29, 2012

365 Photo Challenge: Week 21.

Day 144.

Major fail in posting the last couple of weeks. Normally when I'm not posting it's because I'm in a bad mood... But I'm not in a bad mood! I promise! As lame of an excuse as it is, I actually have been really busy! I'll try to get better though... Anyway, here are my pumpkin pictures from last week...

Day 144: a license plate that I saw... pretty perfect, if you ask me. Day 145: Trader Joe's sweet potato fries with a side of grilled cheese. Day 146: the best kind of pop machine known to man. Day 147: sweet baby Elsy. Day 148: one of those fortune placemat things you find at Chinese restaurants. Day 149: sweet potato and black bean chili (more to come on that soon!) Day 150: the fall decorations on our mantel.

Only a few more days of pumpkin and then November 1st starts a new color: cocoa... aka brown.

Day 145.

Day 146.

Day 147.

Day 148.

Day 149.

Day 150.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

365 Photo Challenge: Week 20.

Day 138.

Hello there! I have been a slacker and haven't posted my pumpkin photos from last week. But don't you worry, I'm here now, and everything is going to be ok. Here is my week in pumpkin...

Day 137: pumpkin waffle mix from Trader Joe's... I may have gone out and bought a waffle maker after buying this. Day 138: fall... I love it. Day 139: as previously blogged, chicken pot pie soup. Day 140: my cute cousins with pumpkins. Day 141: a bar in Wesport that I didn't actually go to but took a picture of (I actually went to Beer Kitchen which was amazing, but didn't have an orange sign...) Day 142: I have color coded the books/things on my new bookshelf and this is the orange section. Day 143: my roommate Kathryn and her pumpkin ice cream from Trader Joe's.

A great week in orange. Now on to another...

Day 137.

Day 139.

Day 140.

Day 141.

Day 142.

Day 143.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Try-It Soupday: Chicken Pot Pie Soup.

Hello there! I tried a new soup last night, and y'all... it was good.

I've said it before and I'll say it again... I really like the website Skinnytaste. That's where I found this recipe. She has delicious recipes and they are healthy! I love that the flavor of her recipes doesn't suffer because they are healthier. So great... Anyway. I love chicken pot pie. I love soup. So when I saw this soup that combined the two, I was excited.A few things about this recipe:

-I made 3/4 of the recipe, yes, 3/4. I was going to cut it in half, because I didn't want to have to eat the leftovers for 2 weeks, but I decided that wouldn't be enough. So I made 3/4. Now, I'm wishing I would have made the whole pot because: 1. It didn't make as much as I thought it would. 2. It was delicious and I just want more of it.

-It called for mushrooms, but I hate (yes, I used the word hate, that's how strongly I feel) mushrooms, so I left them out.

-Did I mention it's healthy?

-Just make this soup. It encompasses all of the comfort of a chicken pot pie but it won't bust your points (Weight Watchers, anyone?)

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Monday, October 15, 2012

365 Photo Challenge: Week 19.

Day 136.

Buenos dias! It's a beautiful Monday afternoon in Kansas City and I thought I'd share with you my orange pictures of the week. Let's do this...

Day 130: after a couple of weeks of trying to track down Pumpkin Spice creamer I finally found it! Day 131: pumpkin scented candles... mmmm. Day 132: don't judge me for this one... It was 11:30... I was walking out of the grocery store... I realized I hadn't taken a picture of the day yet... I quickly snapped a blurry picture of pumpkins... It was a bad picture... I know. Day 133: sugar cookies to take to my dear cousin Julie. Day 134: remember back in June when I went and helped my cousin Julie decorate a nursery for her baby-to-be? Guess who arrived... Elsy Grace! Day 135: another one of sweet Elsy... Day 136: candy corn... quite possibly my favorite candy.

Day 130.

Day 131.

Day 132.

Day 133.

Day 134.

Day 135.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Try-It Soupdays!

Y'all... I miss Try-It Tuesdays. I miss cooking for my family. I miss being intentional about trying new recipes. I miss the routine knowing that every Tuesday is my day to cook. So, I decided to bring it back... kind of. Soup weather is upon us, and I don't know if you know this about me, but I love soup. So. I decided to change it up a bit and start... Try-It Soupdays! It gives me the freedom to do it whatever night of the week I desire. But my goal is to try a new soup recipe every week until... it gets warm. Or until I get tired of it. Or until I say when.

So this week's Try-It Soupday was last night. I made a recipe from one of my favorite healthy food blogs: SkinnyTaste.Turkey Chili Taco Soup. Things that drew me to this recipe from first reading it...

1. It uses ground turkey instead of ground beef.
2. It uses a base of peppers and onions.
3. It has refried beans in it... Refried beans in a soup? (My thought: "It could either be really good or really not good... let's try it and see!")
4. It is quick. Ready in about 30 minutes or so.
5. It combines two of my favorite things: Mexican and soup.
6. It combines another two of my favorite things: chili and soup.
7. It is healthy. (P.S. The diet has only been going ok lately... I've only lost 15 pounds since July. But hey, I'm 15 pounds lighter than I was and I still have a month to go.)

I thought this was delicious! One of the things that was said on the blog was, "It's light and healthy and one cup always fills me up." I really doubted the "one cup always fills me up" comment... but I couldn't agree more! It was hearty, and spicy, and interesting... I'd highly recommend it!

Turkey Chili Taco Soup

Monday, October 8, 2012

Pinterest-y Home.

(DIY Scrabble Coasters.)

When my roommates and I first moved in to our house, we were talking about decorating and how fun it would be. I remember my roommate Kathryn saying something like, "You guys, we need to take advantage of this. It's our only time to have a pinterest-y home." So I'm doing my best to keep things as Pinterest-y as possible.

My roommate Paige's mom brought us a coffee table a few weeks ago. Paige expressed how her past roommates hadn't really "respected" coffee tables and would leave cups on them or scratch them with their bikes (nope, you didn't read that wrong, they scratched them with their bikes)... So I decided that it'd be best if we avoid getting on Paige's coffee-table-bad-side and that I should make some coasters.

I saw a tutorial on none other than... Pinterest, for Scrabble tile coasters.

1. I love Pinterest.
2. I love games.
3. I specifically love Scrabble.
4. I love cheap DIYs.
5. I love you (needed to come up with a fifth thing, and it's true... I love you for reading my ramblings, among other things.)

So I made coasters! I found a game of Scrabble for $1.99 at a thrift store. I bought an abundance of cork board at Target for $6.00 (I used less than 1/4 of what I bought, so we'll say I used $1.50 worth of cork board.) I bought Elmer's wood glue for $1.63 (or something like that, I don't remember exactly. I'm going to say I used $.47 of it.) I already had Modge Podge. I already had an exacto knife. So I made six, custom made, real cute coasters for a grand total of... $3.96. Not bad... AND, the good news is, if you want me to make you some, I've got everything I need minus the old, thrift store Scrabble game (which can be easily tracked down). I'd love to make you some! And then maybe you can have a more Pinterest-y home, too.

(These are going to make Paige really happy.)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

365 Photo Challenge: Week 18.

 Day 126.

Hello there! It's week 18 of my photo project and this week started a new color. The actual challenge calls is pumpkin... some may call it orange. For the sake of whimsy, I'm going with pumpkin. (I started read Bob Goff's Love Does today, and he talks about "whimsy" a lot... But more on that another day...)

My week in pumpkin... Day 123: the organization that owns the house that I live in is called K-Life... this sign hangs in the guys' K-Life house next door. Day 124: this is our front door... we painted it a few weeks ago, thinking the paint color we got was red... turns out it looks more pumpkiny. Woops! Day 125: I had a lovely dinner at my parents' house and these are some of my mom's beautiful flowers. Day 126: this is my co-worker, Blake... he was a good sport to let me take a picture of his perfectly orange outfit. Day 127: baking with pumpkin puree... of course, I made the gingerbread pumpkin bars again. Day 128: I "catered" dessert for a banquet for K-Life that was held at this beautiful home... these pumpkins and flowers greeted us at the front door. Day 129: my chai tea latte at Latte Land which sells Kaldi's coffee which also happens to be the coffee shop where I worked in college.

And there you have it. Another week down...
Day 123. 

Day 124. 

 Day 125.

Day 127.

Day 128.

 Day 129.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

How I Decorate a Room: Part 5.

How I decorate a room... I see an idea. I dream about it for a long time. I get the stuff I need to do it. And then I do. Or if I can't do it, I find someone who can do it to help me. Case in point...

Back in June, a blog that I read, Iowa Girl Eats, posted on her Friday Favorites a picture of a cheap old bookshelf that was transformed with a little bit of paint and an old pallet. I loved the idea and thought it'd be fun for the new room. So I started dreaming...

And then my cousin Julie told me she had an old bookshelf and wanted to know if I wanted it for my new place. Why yes, yes I did. Because I had something in mind for that old bookshelf.

And then I hear my aunt Cindy telling me about how she found some pallets that she was using for her vacation Bible school and she was really excited about them because they were clean and perfect for what she was needing. "Dearest aunt Cindy, what are you going to do with those pallets when VBS is over?" "Nothing, do you want them?" "Why yes... yes I do."

So then I knew I needed to paint the ol' thing, and really liked the white idea. So, I used my resources (Pinterest) and found a way to paint furniture without sanding it. (Sanding stinks... you know you don't like it either.) So I went and bought paint with my dear roommate Kathryn.

And then comes the tricky part... I had a bookshelf. I painted that bookshelf. I had pallets. I had the idea. Now how am I going to cut the pallets, drill some holes, and nail them on to my bookshelf. I didn't have the tools... or the skills.

So I asked my friend at work who is really handy. Plus I really like hanging out with him and his wife. "Hey, you and your wife should come over to my house, I'll make you dinner, you can make my bookshelf, and then we can play games." (Playing games is what we do.) His response? "No thanks." Rejected... But another co-worker, who overheard our conversation said, "I'll help!"

So my friend Lee from work came over... and we made a bookshelf! Well... he made a bookshelf, I just helped where I could. Here are some pictures documenting the evening...

 (Pulling apart the pallets. Did I mention my friend is buff, tattooed,  and Asian?)

 (Arranging the order of the different colors of boards.)

 ("Oh hey, Lee!)

(Lee cut the boards to size, drilled a hole where we wanted them (so the wood wouldn't split), then nailed them on.) 

 (Lee and his impressive handiwork!) 

 (Me... I guess you could say I'm the brains behind the operation.)

 (Bigsby was checking it out...)

(With books on it... I've decide to take out a lot of the stuff so you 
can actually see the wood behind it. But you get the idea...)

A big thanks to Lee! I couldn't have done the project without him!