Pinterest Post: Morphing Recipes – Chorizo Meatloaf + Clean Chicken Chili

Pinterest is my favorite way to waste spend time. I get new outfit ideas, recipes, and quotes to live by that I write on my chalkboard wall (now freshly painted in anticipation of selling our condo).

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This one stayed up every day as a friendly reminder before I headed out the door:

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Every Thursday I’ll be posting tried and true pins along with my favorite quote of the week that I’ll be living by.

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Note: all pins can be found on my Quotable board as some have mis-documented source credits so I am not always able to give proper credit to the talented designers who have created these.

Onward and Upward! This week we celebrated the 1st birthday of the son of a dear friend of ours. This momma is amazingly domestic in all the best ways and made this amazing clean chili recipe. And Holy mother of pearl, it was some of the best chili I had ever tasted. That’s saying a lot coming from a Midwestern girl like me!

Now while I was craving it again, I only had ingredients on hand to make my favorite paleo chorizo meatloaf.

So what did I do? RECIPE MORPHING COMMENCE! (Say that in your best transformers voice and it sounds way cooler in your head….judge me.)

Clean(ish?) CrockpotChorizo Chili
Ingredients
– 1 lb. ground mild chorizo, cooked
– 1 lb. lean ground beef or turkey, cooked and drained
– 1 cup crimini mushrooms, chopped
– 3 medium carrots, cubed
– 1 small onion, diced
– 2 cloves garlic, minced
– 1 can black beans with liquid
– 2 cans fire-roasted tomatoes with liquid
– 1 small can tomato paste
– 2 Tablespoons Chili powder
– salt, and pepper to taste

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Directions
1. In your crock pot, combine all ingredients except salt, pepper, and spinach.
2. Mix well and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8.
3. Taste mixture and add salt and pepper to taste. I wait to do this because depending on where you get your chorizo, the flavor will differ. Ohio chorizo bought from the big box grocer tastes nothing like its equivalent in California!
4. If you want, you can add in 2 cups of baby spinach (chopped) to the mix and cook a half hour longer. I think it beefs up the nutrition value even more and you can hardly taste it!
5. Serve with plain Greek yogurt or light sour cream, shredded sharp cheddar, and scallions for a completed dinner!

for those of you on Weight Watchers like me, this recipe is 8PP+ for 1 cup of chili, not counting the toppings. I like to serve it with this cornbread for a well rounded and satisfying meal

Pinterest Post: Holiday Cocktails

🎶 It’s the holiday season, with a whoop-de-do and hickory dock, and don’t forget to hang up your sock…🎶

Am I the only one who has had the Pandora Christmas station blasting all week?! I don’t know if it’s because J and I will be apart from family this year on Christmas ( 😦 ), or what, but I cannot get enough holiday music it seems!

In the spirit of the holiday season (ha! See what I did there? spirit….) I have compiled a list of my favorite pinned holiday drinks! I will post the recipes to my top three below. Other drink ideas can be found on my Cocktails Board on Pinterest!

Number 3: Candy Cane Martini

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Leave it to Martha Stewart to create such a cocktail! In a shaker, combine 2 ounces strawberry vodka, 4 dashes white Creme de Menthe, and 2&1/2 ounces of cranberry juice. Shake well. Garnish a glass with crushed candy canes, pour, and enjoy!

Number 2: Boozy Eggnog

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In a cocktail shaker, combine 4 ounces of eggnog, 1 ounce spiced rum, 1 ounce Kahlua, 1/2 ounce of bourbon, and a splash of vanilla extract. Sprinkle in a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove and turn slowly in shaker to combine. Rim a glass with turbinado sugar (optional) and pour in eggnog mixture. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon and you’re ready to party!

And my Number 1 Holiday Cocktail is: Cranberry Champagne!

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In a champagne glass, pour one ounce of sweetened cranberry juice and top with the juice of a slice of lime. Top with champagne (I love Martini & Rossi Asti!) and a few fresh cranberries and you’re all set for a festive celebration!

What’s your favorite holiday cocktail? Share your ideas and recipes below!

Pinterest Post: Chocolate Chess Pie Recipe

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends yesterday!

Since we were unable to go back East to spend the holiday with family, we got together with some Navy friends and had dinner. For this special occasion I made a Chocolate Chess Pie.

What is that? Good question! Imagine your favorite gooey brownie batter baked until just molten in the center. Now combine that with a pie crust shell and whipped topping. Yum, right?!

Make this recipe ASAP, just know it is super rich, so I suggest cutting the pie into at least 8-10 pieces.

Chocolate Chess Pie
from Ezra Pound Cake

Ingredients
1 unbaked pie crust (I used the frozen deep dish variety!)
1&1/2 cups sugar
3 heaping Tablespoons cocoa powder
Pinch of salt
5 ounces evaporated milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, cocoa powder, and salt until blended.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the evaporated milk, melted butter, beaten eggs, and vanilla. If you’re like me, though, you’d do all of this in the measuring cup containing the evaporated milk. The less dirty dishes, the better 🙂
4. Pour liquid ingredients onto dry and whisk to combine.
5. Pour pie filling into unbaked pie crust and tap to release air bubbles.
6. Bake for 40-50 minutes. The center should still be a bit jiggly, but the top will be set.
Optional: Once cooled completely, pipe or spread whipped topping onto pie and dust with chocolate sprinkles.

Enjoy!

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Pinterest Post: Surviving Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is only a week away and I am sure that many of you are hosting Thanksgiving for your family or friends (friendsgiving?)

Here are a few ingenious ideas to help you stay sane while giving you an opportunity to truly reflect on the purpose of the holiday: giving thanks for family, friends, and the little things in life that make it so great!

Kids Table
If you are fortunate brave enough to have little ones coming to your dinner, this might help keep them from running around the house and knocking over fine china.

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A sheet of butcher paper, some crayons, and a little guidance (tic-tac-toe board, crossword, etc.) can keep little bodies busy.

A unique dessert
Most people think of pumpkin and sweet potato pies on thanksgiving, but why not make another option that no one has tried yet? Something safe like this ooey-gooey brownie pie served over vanilla bean ice cream is guaranteed to be a big hit!

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Pre-carving the Turkey
There is something undeniably beautiful about a whole roast turkey at the dinner table, but pre-cutting a slow-roasted bird makes the dinner line or passing around the table go much quicker.

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Understated Autumn Decorations
DIY some decorations that will work for the whole fall season. Put these up at the beginning of October next year and revel in the fact that you won’t have much to do to get your home in the Turkey-Day spirit next year! Even if you haven’t set up your decorations yet, do it this weekend to save time on the day of dinner!

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Have any other good ideas of how to make your Thanksgiving focused on Giving Thanks and not controlling chaos? Leave a comment and I will add it to this post!

Happy Birthday Atlas!

Hi everyone!

In a special edition of my Pinterest post, I am going to give you an amazing (and Atlas tested) recipe for a Peanut Butter Pumpkin Pup-Cake that I made my little one for his First Birthday today!

But before I do that, let me take you all on a trip down memory lane…

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We adopted him from the SAFE Animal Shelter in Middleburg, Florida when he was four weeks old and weighed less than 4 pounds. He has lived in 4 houses, has been through 14 states, has resided in 2, has swam in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and has been my copilot on more than 5,000 miles of driving. He has made me laugh, cry, and get more frustrated than you can imagine, but I love this little animal more than anything. I can only imagine having kids if I feel this way about him 😉

In honor of his 1st Birthday, I found a recipe through Pinterest for a Peanut Butter Pumpkin cake. Being that he cannot have wheat or corn, I modified the recipe slightly to make this recipe Wheat and Corn free.

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Pup-Cake
Modified from Better with Butter

Ingredients
– 1 cup Brown Rice Flour
– 1/2 tsp. baking soda
– 1 egg
– 1/2 cup water
– 1/3 cup canola oil
– 1/3 cup Peanut Butter (I use JIF creamy because it has no corn syrup)
– 2/3 cup Pumpkin Purée (not pumpkin pie filling!)

For Frosting
– 1/4 cup Peanut Butter
– 1/2 cup Pumpkin Purée
– Dog Treat Decorations of Choice

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Whisk together all ingredients until smooth
3. Spray two 6 inch round cake pans (or muffin tins for cupcake pup-cakes!) with Canola Oil baking spray.
4. Bake cakes for 15 minutes or until set in center
5. Mix frosting ingredients together until smooth
6. Let cool completely, then layer and cover with frosting. Decorate with dog treats as you see fit.

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Happy Birthday Atlas!

Happy Halloween! Pinterest Style!

Hi guys! I hope you’re having a spook-tacular day so far! See what I did there? HA! So corny, I know 🙂 Yesterday I was feeling a bit under the weather and went to bed by 9 after getting everything done around the house. So next week I will complete my Buying a Home 101 post! Today, I’d like to share with you a blog post that was sent to me by a rep at Paul Fredrick, an online retailer specializing in men’s dress shirts, and asked to be shared. This post is filled with a few DIY male costume ideas for those of us that (still!) don’t have a costume for tonight! Check it out here: 5 Last Minute Halloween Costume Ideas For us females, I searched Pinterest and found some of these that can be thrown together with articles you probably already have in your closet! Enjoy! Rosie the Riveter

20131031-100238.jpg With a pair of jeans, a chambray shirt, and a red bandana, this is one of the easiest and most classic costumes ever! Where’s Waldo Wanda

20131031-100536.jpg Jeans, a striped sweater, a warm stripey knit hat, and your favorite camera make this easy costume a great way to capture all of those Halloween night memories! Audrey Hepburn

20131031-100647.jpg Going someplace classy tonight? Throw on your best Little Black Dress and a statement necklace and hit the town! An easy DIY updo will complete the look. A Contestant on The Price is Right

20131031-100918.jpg This silly costume was my choice at work last year. It not only works well in small groups (always have someone bid $1!), but it only requires jeans, your favorite old college sweatshirt, some cardboard, and colored paper! How easy is that?! Whatever you choose to do tonight, please be safe! I hope tonight is filled with many more treats than tricks 🙂

Catch up!

Remember that time I swore I wouldn’t get behind on blogging again? I don’t know how, but somehow between what felt like two hours, it went from being Sunday to being Thursday! Yikes!

Ever have weeks like these? They seems to be more often lately for me 🙂

Here what you I missed on the blog this week:

Monday: I have put myself on yet another shopping fast that is currently indefinite. Since we bought the truck and are trying the pay off our (healthy) debts, I cannot warrant shopping for new items. Besides that, I go to work every day in soft-as-silk tees and a pair of jeans; plenty of which I have. So here’s to recycling and rewearing outfits umpteen-thousand ways until you’ve exhausted ever mix and match combination! If you’re interested in this kind of Fashion Lifestyle, check out this awesome blog I found, Putting Me Together. This girl is a fashion genius!!!

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Tuesday: Oh what to do, what to do. I’m kind of looking for a little help here. The school year has started for many kiddos around the country, but I am not teaching this year, making it like salt in a wound for me to post about teaching tips on Tuesdays. I’m looking for suggestions on a new Tuesday Topic. If I choose yours, I will send goodies your way! Leave me a comment!!

Wednesday: Not so much a picture tour of something amazing in our home, but a funny story instead. Last Friday we heard a huge BOOM in our kitchen. We checked the cabinets and the garage (attached) and saw nothing so we figured the guy who lives above us dropped about ten bowling balls simultaneously. It could happen, right?!?! When I went to get dressed the next morning, however, I realized something was blocking our closet door from being opened. That is when we discovered that the big BOOM was, in fact, our entire closet shelf that had ripped itself off the wall. It was obvious why, though, because we later saw that it was only being held up by some construction adhesive and a few brad nails, none of which were in studs! Yikes! It’s all fixed now, but what an adventure!

Today (Thursday): I have noticed that most of my pins have been focused on Splurge Worthy Foods lately…not so healthy, but I haven’t made any of them yet, so I’m still good, right?

I’m thinking about making one of these amazing splurges, eating one and then sending the rest off to my friends! I’m such a good friend, right?! 😉

S’mores Ice Cream Cake

Lemon, Garlic, and Rosemary Chicken

Puppy Chow Bars

Let me know what you guys think for the new Tuesday feature and I hope you all have had an adventurous and amazing week!

Baby Photos: The Best Poses, Tips & Tricks

Yesterday during E’s nap time, I spent a bunch of time pinning. I pinned fun nanny tips, new recipe ideas, and a whole boat load of cute baby photo ideas. I plan on taking a bunch of photos of E over the new few months and compiling them into a small Shutterfly photo book for my “parents” Christmas gift. I think they’ll really enjoy the surprise 🙂

Now, before you venture into taking pictures of your newborn, or a little love that you’re care-taking for like me, you need to be aware of a few things:

Tips & Tricks

1. Not all babies will lie there sleeping or alert while you flash away for hours, changing their outfits every 20 minutes. That just doesn’t happen. If your kid will let you, great; just don’t expect them to or you will more than likely be disappointed.

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Photo Credit: Kristi Groves Photography

2. Babies under the age of 6 months will not, EVER be able to hold the following pose on their own! These are staged photos where the photographer has a parent/assistant hold the babies head from the top in one shot, and support their chin in the next. They then use Photoshop to edit the two photos together. I’m not saying your baby can’t hold this pose, I’m just saying they shouldn’t because it’s dangerous.

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Photo Credit: Jen Schow Photography

3. Capture kids in their every day. Sometimes the moments right at morning wake up produce the most natural smiles and light!

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Photo Credit: Elizabeth Rico

My Fave Poses

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Photo Credits:
Alyssa Melody Photography, Red Lotus Photography,

Peekaboo Photography, Jen Schow Photography

I really love how these babies are swaddled or surrounded in comfort. I know my little E loves nothing more than being wrapped up in something warm and cuddly! Tomorrow starts my journey to take at least one staged, awesome natural light photo. I’ll let you all know how it goes!

What are your favorite baby photo poses? Any tips or tricks for me? I’d love to hear them!

Week-Long Recap

I had great ideas for every post this week.

I was going to post each morning and knock your socks off with my amazing, witty posts.

I was going to have ten million comments and twenty million new followers.

..that might be a little exaggerated…

But, I was going to do it, and I got busy.

Doesn’t that happen to everyone? You get so caught up in all the cool, fun things you’re doing (or laundry, and dinners, and other chores) and you just run out of time in the day! Before you know it, your good intentions turn into its-5-minutes-until-10-and-Im-thoroughly-exhausted-from-today and you choose to go to bed instead of completing the task you planned on.

So here’s what you missed this week (the abridged version):

Monday – Wardrobe Weeding
T
his one I did on time! Woo-hoo! But in case you missed it, check it out here

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Tuesday – 3T: Grown Up Fun
I know many of you have cute little ones running around your home and I normally post about fun things to do with them during the summer, but I wanted to focus this week on the Adults of the group. If you’re like Jeff and I, you’re still enjoying being just the two of you. We want kids, just not right at this moment. I think we both want a chance to be totally selfish and on our own schedules a few more years. I found this list of 41 Things To Do Before You Have Kids on The Nest and I love it. Some are practical, some are a little racy, but all are great ideas!

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Wednesday – Master Bath Before & After
Inspiration Post: Dream Master Bath
How it Turned Out: A little less “WOW!” when you walk in than I’d like, but it’s serene and nature-like.

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Thursday – Pinterest Post: The Best Rum Punch EVER!
Tried it. Loved It. Will DEFINITELY make it again!
Strawberry Blood Orange Rum Punch from The Bojon Gourmet

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Friday – Building Endurance as a New Runner
I’m trying guys, I really am. I want to be one of the super cute, fit, easy-to-watch runners in San Diego. I just have zero endurance right now! I found this awesome article on fitsugar that I think will really help! Check it out here!

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So….yea! That was this week. Next week is going to be hella-busy, too, as I’ve got my cupcake tasting at the apartment to promote the cupcakery, and I start my new job full time on Thursday, but I will do my best to post every day!

Love you guys!

Pinterest Post: DIY Mugs

So before I show you all my Pinterest Projects from today, I wanted to give you guys the real view of our new curtains in the Master! Jeff found these online at Target and we instantly fell in love!

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Onto Pinterest! I decided to put my Pinterest Posts to work for me by making a few items and posting them on my Etsy Page. Today I made three different DIY ceramic mugs inspired by this Pin, this Pin, and this Pin.

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Here’s how to make your own at home:

Find a plain white coffee mug. Target, Dollar Tree, and Thrift Shops normally have these for pretty cheap.

Grab a Sharpie in your favorite color and doodle away! Use stickers and dot around them for the “Dotty” Mug or freehand the design of your choice.

Bake the mugs at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes to set Sharpie.

That’s it! Simple, easy, inexpensive personal gift! Also, if you make any mistakes with your Sharpie, just take a Q-tip with a little nail polish remover and wipe off your mistake!

Next week’s project? Chalkboard Painted Kitchen-ware!